151: Dungeons & Dragons Owns the Future

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Dungeons & Dragons Owns the Future

"Pong, released in 1972, relied on cutting-edge electronics. Dungeons & Dragons, which appeared two years later, employed technologies that had existed for thousands of years. The odd-shaped dice used to play original D&D - the pyramids, the icosahedrons, the strange gear of so many roleplaying games - are the five Platonic solids. The Greeks had advanced math, writing, drama, myth and lots of leisure time - not to mention an academy at Athens loaded with nerds. So why didn't Plato ever think to deck out a dungeon for his fellows to loot?"

Read Full Article

This is really hard to follow: Almost like The Da Vinci Code, all the information is there, but so wrapped up in hyperbole and implication that it makes no real sense.

D&D Against Time
In a few weeks, Hasbro will release the 4th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, the tabletop roleplaying game that started it all 34 years ago. Because geeks now rule the world, and D&D is the nec plus ultra of geekdom, it pays to give the old game its due. One of the big controversies in the development of new D&D is the extent to which videogames, like World of Warcraft, have influenced its design. The important question about tabletop RPGs and MMOGs is not about influence, but essential difference. What distinguishes the two great acronyms of gaming? Two words: Ancient Greece.

Ok...It's not the 4th, in the same way that GTA IV isn't.
Geeks rule the world? Since when?
D&D is no way the "Nothing Further Beyond", as a lot of RP'ers have long since chucked their d20's in favour of more expressive systems.
Videogames influences D&D, shurely shum mishtake?
RPG's and MMOG's are nowhere near the great acronymns, that would be FPS and RTS. MMO's are actually MMORPG's. (Anyone who doesn't think they're roleplaying is advised to try casting Ice Storm for real)
And how MMOG's or gaming started in Ancient Greece is beyond me...

"So why didn't Plato ever think to deck out a dungeon for his fellows to loot?"
Probably because Zeus etc. were already doing it, with real people, hence Perseus etc.

An interesting article, but factually sloppy. Sorry.

The_root_of_all_evil:
D&D is no way the "Nothing Further Beyond", as a lot of RP'ers have long since chucked their d20's in favour of more expressive systems.

All that statement means is "D&D is considered one of the geekiest geek hobbies."

(Although the geek hierarchy chart tells us that LARP is geekier.)

-- Alex

Clever comparison with Athenian tragedy. I think there's a huge, unexplored territory lying just a bit further out, too: Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides composed what they composed, and gave birth not just to drama but also more or less to literature, because writing and reading were just barely coming in as a public thing at the time they were working, and the incredible advances offered by the new technology of writing just blew away the seemingly modest potential of oral composition.

To grasp what I think is the true ancient parallel (cf. http://livingepic.blogspot.com), you need to go back to Homeric epic, with its improvisatory character.

So perhaps it's actually Gary and Dave who finally brought oral tradition back to us!

Alex_P:

The_root_of_all_evil:
D&D is no way the "Nothing Further Beyond", as a lot of RP'ers have long since chucked their d20's in favour of more expressive systems.

All that statement means is "D&D is considered one of the geekiest geek hobbies."

(Although the geek hierarchy chart tells us that LARP is geekier.)

-- Alex

As a LARPer, I can tell you now that it's entirely a descendant of D&D, and falls into two major categories. "D&D where you stand and act instead of saying what your character does, using rock-paper-scissors or cards instead of dice, or D&D where you use padded weapons and damage calls to simulate combat in real time." In all honesty, it IS geekier, but it's totally inherited, to the point that an outsider could only tell the difference by the costumes and loudness.

BobisOnlyBob:

As a LARPer, I can tell you now that it's entirely a descendant of D&D, and falls into two major categories. "D&D where you stand and act instead of saying what your character does, using rock-paper-scissors or cards instead of dice, or D&D where you use padded weapons and damage calls to simulate combat in real time." In all honesty, it IS geekier, but it's totally inherited, to the point that an outsider could only tell the difference by the costumes and loudness.

Also as a LARPer, I have to say that's a little generalisation (There are Freeformers, Sealed Knot etc. as well), but I'd disagree that it's a descendant, more of one of the rowdy children in the marriage between Theatre and D&D.
I'd also call into question the Geek chart, which "How to Bite the Head Off a Chicken" tends to deal with more succinctly.

I still have all the books from the very begining. It was a great game to past the long winter evenings before consoles were affordable. a group of freinds,some beer,and pizza. yes, I am old lol

A recent and great example of chaos and a collaborative spirit can be found on the Paizo messageboards where hundreds of gamers playtest and tweak the Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 rules to help Jason Bulmahn and his team produce Pathfinder, an updated and streamlined Dungeons and Dragons for those who don't fancy switching to 4th Edition.

I'm thoroughly enjoying the open design process and I hope that more companies will follow Paizo's lead.

You know what this means, don't you? It means that if any of us go back in time, we can invent roleplaying! Much better than trying to build a steam engine, since dice don't explode! (Except in Shadowrun, L5R and 7th Sea of course.) No tech required beyond basic numerals and paper! You could make lots of money, and lots of friends.

Yep, I know what to do now if I'm transported back to Shakespearean England. This, and die of cholera.

Great article, very perceptive and maybe one of the most original concepts I have read on this website. A parallel that comes to mind for me is the emergence of "team humor" that you see sometimes these days on internet forums - where a series of different people will collaborate in a thread to create something funny as a group that is more than just the sum of their individual contributions.

It's an entirely worthwhile question -- why didn't collaborative interactive fiction ("role-playing games") appear anywhere in documented human history until 1974 A.D.?

I'm not satisfied with how the essay answers the question, but I doubt it can be covered in four pages. The topic seems bookworthy, and I'd encourage Ray Huling to follow through and drill deeper into the subject.

The question itself is interesting, but the article fails to awnser anything about it.

I think it did--but it was confined to children until there were enough adults with enough leisure time to devote to it. Moreover, I think there are many, many ancient precedents for the genre, especially in cult ritual.

Well technically the concept of D&D was around in Ancient Greece. However, it was a game played by the gods, not men. And instead of wizards and warriors, they used real people as their pieces.

Hmm. Do you happen to have an ancient Greek text or two to back that up? Because I've read pretty much all of them, and none of them says that. In ancient Greek literature, the gods embody human phenomena like war and marriage; even when, in a text like the Iliad, it seems like the gods are controlling the action, they're actually there to represent purely human motivations. When Athena stops Achilles from killing Agamemnon in Book 1, it's simply a very, yes, epic way to say that he had at least enough wisdom to restrain himself.

On the other hand, I think there's a really important analogy to be made between RPG's and the actual human epic tradition of the bards who sang the Iliad into existence.

Videogames influences D&D, shurely shum mishtake?

Have you read the fourth edition books? Reading descriptions of the world setting is like mapping out the setting for World of Warcraft. "Dwarves are from here, Elves are from here, Orcs come from here, humans are here...", as opposed to a truly inter-mingling system.

I would've rather seen an article that focuses on how D&D has been changing. At the start, there were a TON of different literary contributions to shape D&D, though Tolkien is the most obvious. Robert E. Howard also had a pretty major influence, particularly since the Barbarian in D&D was pretty much Conan. It is, however, interesting that literature had an influence on the creation, but not on the play style. The game was essentially a dungeon crawler, but it was the players that began making in-depth characters and stories. Hence why 2nd edition is so full of source books for different settings of amazing depth and detail.

Of course, back then, geeks and nerds read a lot more, and a lot of the geek favorites weren't pulpy Warcraft, Buffy or Halo novels. They were real genuine works that tried to convey true meaning and depth. The noir magazine writings of H.P.Lovecraft and others also contributed. Basically, people were well-read, and it transferred.

Now, however, the gamers are changing. Instead of growing up reading Lovecraft, Conan and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, people are growing up playing Diablo, and now they try and emulate that experience grabbing and looting. It's honestly a real shame, because the wrong games are influencing modern D&D players. Games like Myst, or even Resident Evil and Final Fantasy Tactics, would be fantastic influences to the realm of D&D, but unfortunately people just want to take what they learned from Everquest and WoW and apply it to pen and paper.

And now, 4th Edition is primarily catering to those people.

ccesarano:

And now, 4th Edition is primarily catering to those people.

But 1st ed created those people, and it was the Everquest/Diablo supplements that first introduced that idea...way back in 3rd ed. The whole hitpoints/mana thing was there on the first Basic edition box set.

'Dwarves are from here' started way back with Tolkein, before computers were anything more than lab tools.

ccesarano:
Now, however, the gamers are changing. Instead of growing up reading Lovecraft, Conan and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, people are growing up playing Diablo, and now they try and emulate that experience grabbing and looting. It's honestly a real shame, because the wrong games are influencing modern D&D players. Games like Myst, or even Resident Evil and Final Fantasy Tactics, would be fantastic influences to the realm of D&D, but unfortunately people just want to take what they learned from Everquest and WoW and apply it to pen and paper.

And now, 4th Edition is primarily catering to those people.

I've only been playing D&D since 2006, I started earlier with Hero Quest, but I think its obvious to anybody who plays both video game RPGs and their progenitors, that players usually divide into two camps, those who want to live the narrative, and those who want to live the action. People are influenced by popular culture, D&D was popular because Tolkein gained popularity in the 60s and into the 70s.
People growing up with Diablo will want to play like Diablo, some may find it lacking and they might move into a playstyle more influenced by High Fantasy than Stat-crunching RPGs.

Saying something like "It's honestly a real shame, because the wrong games are influencing modern D&D players." is just the geriatric gripe of "Everything was better in my day" the players of today aren't like the players of the 80s, for one thing they dress better, but also they may want more action, if pointless violence gives it to them hooray, they're having fun.

Fun being the goal that people seek when playing these games. Sure you can blab on about how its making it less Role playing and more Roll playing but I prefer to ignore pricks like you and go back to the simple adventure of just butchering every damn paladin and Orc who stands between me and the staircase to the next floor.

Primary Rule of D&D : All Rules are optional.

Autotranslation engaged:

ccesarano:
Gol-darned kids, get off my lawn!

I started playing D&D 26 years ago (give or take a year) and even I'm not nostalgic enough to forget all the gaming we ripped off from Indiana Jones, Mad Max, Conan flicks, and Hammer films. Heck, if I remember correctly one adventure even ripped off Gauntlet. I know I disguised a Pac Man reference well enough that no one caught it...

It's the same as it ever was, really.

-- Steve

Saying something like "It's honestly a real shame, because the wrong games are influencing modern D&D players." is just the geriatric gripe of "Everything was better in my day" the players of today aren't like the players of the 80s, for one thing they dress better, but also they may want more action, if pointless violence gives it to them hooray, they're having fun.

Fun being the goal that people seek when playing these games. Sure you can blab on about how its making it less Role playing and more Roll playing but I prefer to ignore pricks like you and go back to the simple adventure of just butchering every damn paladin and Orc who stands between me and the staircase to the next floor.

Maybe I should indulge on how supplements themselves are lacking? I remember reading 2nd Edition Forgotten Realms books and seeing insane amounts of text and detail in a book half the size and half the cost, as well as Ravenloft, Dark Sun, etc.

I'm not saying action and all that don't have a place. Hell, I tend to play fighters simply because I have a better mind set for that than a wizard. However, I feel that there should be enough material for the narrators as well. It's not necessarily the "back in my day" crap that people spew out. It is the simple matter that instead of one book for $20-$25, I know have to buy three books at $40 each for the same amount of content. The only real supplement that has pleased me during 3rd generation is Iron Kingdoms, which, wouldn't you know it, went out of print because people weren't buying it.

I don't care that people want to do nothing but use dice to grind characters instead of a keyboard and mouse, but I'd much rather have material available for people such as myself as well. When people started to roleplay instead of rollplay, TSR gave those people enough material to satisfy them, and the rollplayers, well, doesn't take anything more than a sourcebook to make them happy. The way it is going now, though, that's certainly not the case.

I'm not a prick, I just tire of wasting money on books that aren't worth it all because a bunch of fifteen year olds want to play a level 70 Night Elf Mohawk.

ccesarano:

I'm not a prick, I just tire of wasting money on books that aren't worth it all because a bunch of fifteen year olds want to play a level 70 Night Elf Mohawk.

TBF, how many times have you had someone pick up Oriental Adventures and someone say "I can do 3d10 damage with my crushing punch at level 1!!!!"?

If they want to play a Mohawk, let them. Then roll on the Wandering Demi-Gods table.

It's a shame that D&D is held up as the sole example of tabletop RPGs, because I think there's so little roleplaying in most D&D sessions that it's barely recognizable as a "roleplaying" game. It's all been shoved out to make room for the "hardcore" gamers who only care about stats and damage rolls. Granted, that's not exactly what the article was about, but that's what most of the comments seem to be about, so...

WARNING: LONG POST AHEAD. PLEASE DON'T SAY "TL;DR" OR YOU MIGHT HURT MY PWECIOUS WIDDLE FEEWINGS.

Erik Robson:
It's an entirely worthwhile question -- why didn't collaborative interactive fiction ("role-playing games") appear anywhere in documented human history until 1974 A.D.?

Saying that "roleplaying games" didn't come along until 1974 is misleading. Yes, tabletop, pen & paper, dice based combat RPGs didn't come along until the seventies, but role-playing has existed ever since kids started dressing up as their favorite fictional characters, and running around yelling "Bang bang, you're dead!"

Now, I was born in 1986, so I wasn't around to witness the birth of D&D, but I have a sneaking suspicion that what really gave rise to dice-based combat was lawyering. Kids playing cowboys & indians on wooden horses in their backyards would get into arguments that went something like this:
"Bang bang! You're dead!"
"No I'm not! You missed!"
"No I didn't!"
"Did too! I hid from it!"
"You can't do that!"
"Already did!"
Then one of the other kids would suggest tossing a coin to see who was right, and then someone decided to put rules on how many coins would be tossed and handicaps and so on, and before long, someone created dice-based combat. This happened to be released just as LotR mania was hitting another crescendo, so the pre-packaged story was heavily influenced by "high fantasy."

This caught on because of the appeal of dice-based combat to kids who couldn't agree whether a given finger-shot had hit or not, but also because of the freedom of making your own character, thereby author-inserting yourself into the world of LotR or whatever the latest craze was.
From the stories some veteran gamer friends of mine told me, it was designed to be all about the combat, but it struck a chord with a different, unexpected demographic. This crowd could best be described as "casual artists," people who wanted to be authors but didn't have the energy to finish entire books on their own, so they collaborated on organically grown storylines. This turned RPGs from "An adventure in coming up with flimsy pseudo-stories to make an excuse to string together a series of repetitive turn-based dice combat" into an interactive storytelling medium.

Of course, most of this transferred into other tabletop RPG books written by different people, small independent books. This was because D&D, due to it being the biggest and most popular tabletop RPG, attracted the self-styled "hardcore" gamers who didn't give two shits about roleplaying, and still only cared about stat-building and wiping the floor with opponents in combat, as well as looking down their noses at anyone who had the almighty nerve to play for *gasp* fun. These were the precursors to the "Teh Hardcorez" video gamers of today, who pat themselves on the back for thinking that saying "Nintendo sold out to the casual gamer" is a valid criticism of the Wii. That was no problem, though, since there were still plenty of smaller games floating around that got ignored by the Hardcore gamers because they weren't popular or "serious" enough for them, much like today.

Then, someone computerized RPGs. But they weren't roleplaying games, they were game engines that replicated the dice combat and stat-building. So, in other words, CRPGs completely departed from what made RPGs so great (organic story growth, creating your own characters) and only preserved what many of us view as "necessary evils" (level grinding, stat-crunching). I wouldn't have nearly as big a problem with this if they wouldn't CALL themselves "RPGs" and just called themselves "Stat Adventure Games" (SAGs?) or something like that.

Tangential Rant: More recently, some CRPG designers have been trying to cater to the real roleplaying crowd by offering a "moral choice system" and trumpeting about how you get to build your own character and choose their allegiances. But thanks to hardware limitations, what this almost always comes down to is just making the same two or three choices over and over again, it's just a glorified dialogue tree. This patronizing faux-nonlinearity is just plain insulting to those of us who like REAL roleplaying. As it stands, we don't have the hardware capability to create a decent artificial GM, and until we do, I'd rather we not try and throw up a cheap substitute.
This, more than anything else, is the reason that I enjoy "J" RPGs: Because "J-RPGs," for the most part, don't put on feeble pretensions to being anything other than SAGs. I either want RPGs or SAGs, I don't want an SAG trying to pretend to be an RPG.
(sorry about that tangential paragraph, but given that Yahtzee just did another JRPG-flame for this week, I'm foreseeing a lot more of the tired "WRPGs vs. JRPGs" arguments and I wanted to stick my opinion on that in here somewhere ^_^;). Anyway, I'd like to see an article about THAT difference between CRPGs and real RPGs.

cessarano:
Of course, back then, geeks and nerds read a lot more, and a lot of the geek favorites weren't pulpy Warcraft, Buffy or Halo novels. They were real genuine works that tried to convey true meaning and depth. The noir magazine writings of H.P.Lovecraft and others also contributed. Basically, people were well-read, and it transferred.

I don't think that's the problem. I think the problem is that a bunch of people nowadays have started their gaming careers on WoW and Everquest, so when they start playing D&D, they apply an MMORPG mindset to the gameplay. D&D isn't any MORE influenced by pop culture now than it was then.
Me, I started checking D&D because I loved the movie E. T. so much when I was a kid, and was curious about what the older kids were talking about, and that was my gateway into real roleplaying games. I never really cared for D&D, though, because to me it seemed more about stats than telling a story, and it was the smaller, looser RPG books that really opened my eyes.

To get back to the article for one brief moment, I like the analogy of Aeschylus, not just because of the drama analogy, but because of the notion of "subtle history," and how the instigators of real change often go unrecognized.

Anton P. Nym:
I know I disguised a Pac Man reference well enough that no one caught it...

When I see that I think "Beholder in a Labyrinth filled with Wraiths" XD (I have, by no means, ever played Pen and Paper DnD but I've been playing Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2 for going on 6 years now...Mostly playing in Roleplaying servers, and while I like to be as powerfully badass as possible, I try never to leave character unless I'm tired and/or bored....I don't make unrealistic choices like Wading my way across the deck of a ship full of refugees, hacking away so that I can save myself below deck from the breath of a dragon (that situation happened in a PnP game a friend told me about) Plus I'm an Anti-Social bastard so I can't be bothered to physically meet with people so they can tell me I suck...

Ray Huling:
The odd-shaped dice used to play original D&D - the pyramids, the icosahedrons...

There are no pyramid shaped dice used in D&D and maybe none exist at all beyond a few bizarre examples. Assuming the article is referring to the four sided die, it is a tetrahedron not a pyramid. Tetrahedrons have four sides, all equilateral triangles. Pyramids traditionally have five sides with a square base and four triangular sides.
[/pedantry]

antipaganda:
Much better than trying to build a steam engine, since dice don't explode! (Except in Shadowrun, L5R and 7th Sea of course.)

You forgot Deadlands. In fact, anything based on Savage Worlds.

The_root_of_all_evil:
Primary Rule of D&D : All Rules are optional.

The Three Rules of Paranoia:
1) The GM is ALWAYS right. Even if he was wrong, he was right AT THE TIME. Argue, and get killed.
2) Entertain or die. If you're entertaining, you get Perversity Points, which you can use to alter rolls, resulting in you living longer. Don't be entertaining, and the GM may kill you.
3) You don't know the rules. If you show knowledge of the rules, that's treason, which is punishable by summary execution.

Paranoia can be a very silly game.

I, myself, only started playing tabletop DnD three years ago. I only own the 3.5 PHB. However, I will be buying 4th Ed, despite the fact that they've apparently got rid of the Great Wheel cosmology.

OK, quick explanation: I'm a serious Planescape fanatic. I can tell you the names of three of the Golden Lords of Sigil, I know the names of every faction, I can recall (with a small amount of prompting) every gate-town on the Outlands and where it goes, and know the Three Rules of the Multiverse. Thus, the news that they're bringing it back resulted in me screaming "YES!!!" and dancing. Then, news that they were changing the cosmology came to light. Since Planescape relies on the old cosmology... this is not happy news.

However, the article. It seemed, to me, to be a road to nowhere: it mentioned facts, but never answered the question it asked at the beginning. I learned absolutely nothing new about DnD: I knew the wargames came first (from personal experience, actually; my local gaming society used to be called the DU Wargaming Society, and has been around for about 60 years), and I knew the dice have been around for a long long time. I didn't pick up on why Aeschylus was mentioned, and didn't understand why Sophocles wasn't. And then I didn't understand why more mention wasn't made of how DnD influenced video-games.

In short, four pages might have been better served charting the history of DnD, rather than the history of everything UNTIL DnD, or about how games have been influenced by DnD, and will continue to be influenced by DnD.

Please note, I'm feeling a little ill, and have had a slight migraine all day. Thus, I'm not concentrating on things that well. Apologies all round if anything I say is wrong.

EDIT: In my efforts to delete my double post, I saw, in the bottom-right... an ad for 4th Ed.

As an aside: is anyone else getting 4th Ed with a midnight release?

asatruer:

Ray Huling:
The odd-shaped dice used to play original D&D - the pyramids, the icosahedrons...

There are no pyramid shaped dice used in D&D and maybe none exist at all beyond a few bizarre examples. Assuming the article is referring to the four sided die, it is a tetrahedron not a pyramid. Tetrahedrons have four sides, all equilateral triangles. Pyramids traditionally have five sides with a square base and four triangular sides.
[/pedantry]

Wikipedia:

The tetrahedron is [b]one kind of pyramid[b], the second most common type; a pyramid has a flat base, and triangular faces above it, but the base can be of any polygonal shape, not just square or triangular.

So, his comment stands, imo.

Alex_P:

The_root_of_all_evil:
D&D is no way the "Nothing Further Beyond", as a lot of RP'ers have long since chucked their d20's in favour of more expressive systems.

All that statement means is "D&D is considered one of the geekiest geek hobbies."

(Although the geek hierarchy chart tells us that LARP is geekier.)

-- Alex

'Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt!'

Sylocat, done any generalizations lately?

Aside from that your post is full of personal opinions stated as facts, it contains some full-on erros, as well.

This caught on because of the appeal of dice-based combat to kids who couldn't agree whether a given finger-shot had hit or not...

D&D was definitely not aimed at (or popular with) kids in its first few years.

This was because D&D, due to it being the biggest and most popular tabletop RPG, attracted the self-styled "hardcore" gamers who didn't give two shits about roleplaying, and still only cared about stat-building and wiping the floor with opponents in combat, as well as looking down their noses at anyone who had the almighty nerve to play for *gasp* fun.

Where did you get this from?
Remember that D&D originated with wargaming and its initial crowd was wargamers, who were familiar (and comfortable) with combat and war. This has nothing to do with nose-thumbing. In fact, in my experiece it's the "artistic RP narrators" you like so much, who are the snobs.

I say, let everyone play in the style they like and stop whining about other people's gaming habits!

ccesarano, I've found the Eberron supplements quite full of background info, story and so on; On the other hands, I found the 2nd Ed. Legend & Lore book quite lacking in depth.
Also, 3 books at 40$ each? What are you talking about?

I think the simple reason D&D wasn't invented until 1974 is that people had better things to do, like survive real life. Only in the post-WW2 American prosperity did people have the spare time and subsequent boredom to inspire this kind of thing.

I'm not trying to slam D&Der's, I'm a huge video game role player myself, it's just the truth. This is the same reason we have time to be obsessed with Britney's latest misadventures and Paris' newest lip gloss. Unparalleled peace and prosperity = lots of spare time and the need to invent new things to keep us busy.

asatruer:

Ray Huling:
The odd-shaped dice used to play original D&D - the pyramids, the icosahedrons...

There are no pyramid shaped dice used in D&D and maybe none exist at all beyond a few bizarre examples. Assuming the article is referring to the four sided die, it is a tetrahedron not a pyramid. Tetrahedrons have four sides, all equilateral triangles. Pyramids traditionally have five sides with a square base and four triangular sides.
[/pedantry]

Hm. Pedant to pedant here, from the ol' Oxford English Dictionary:

1. a. Geom. A polyhedron of which one face (the base) is a polygon of any number of sides, and the other faces are triangles whose bases are the sides of the polygon and which meet at a common vertex. Formerly also: {dag}a cone (obs.).

But I'll admit that I didn't check this until your comment and KBKarma's reply. You're keeping me on my toes, but my toes were right!

For other folks: thanks for the comments. I'll reply in greater depth when I have more time.

sharp_as_a_cork:
Sylocat, done any generalizations lately?

As a general rule, I never generalize. :P But in answer to your question, I'm speaking from what I know here.

Aside from that your post is full of personal opinions stated as facts,

You must have missed the part where I said "I have a sneaking suspicion," but whatever...

This caught on because of the appeal of dice-based combat to kids who couldn't agree whether a given finger-shot had hit or not...

D&D was definitely not aimed at (or popular with) kids in its first few years.

That part was supposed to be sarcasm, actually.

This was because D&D, due to it being the biggest and most popular tabletop RPG, attracted the self-styled "hardcore" gamers who didn't give two shits about roleplaying, and still only cared about stat-building and wiping the floor with opponents in combat, as well as looking down their noses at anyone who had the almighty nerve to play for *gasp* fun.

Where did you get this from?

I think there have always been "hardcore" gamers who only care about scores, the same as today. See my thread about "When did 'casual gaming' become such a terrible thing?" for details, but I doubt that the tabletop RPG era was much different. I'm not the only one who thinks so, either.

Remember that D&D originated with wargaming and its initial crowd was wargamers, who were familiar (and comfortable) with combat and war. This has nothing to do with nose-thumbing. In fact, in my experiece it's the "artistic RP narrators" you like so much, who are the snobs.

Yes yes, the whole "sneering role-player vs. psychopathic munchkin" debate has been touched on (to put it incalculably mildly), and yes, the artistic types can be damn elitist too. There's snobbery on both sides of the fence, and a lot of persecution complexes too (remember, anyone who likes anything I don't like is a fanboy).

I say, let everyone play in the style they like and stop whining about other people's gaming habits!

Funny, that was kind of my point too.

With CRPGs, the computer handles all the mechanics, and you are left to have the fun of trying to kill things.

With table-top RPGs, the GM handles all the interactions with anyone who isn't another player, and sometimes even then. You frequently compete with the other players for the attention of the GM.

With (a good, predominantly self-reffing) LARP, you get to roleplay.

I suppose the only controversial point would be with the use of the word 'roleplay'. What is roleplaying?

In the above set of statement, what I mean by 'roleplay' is the rather narrow definition of 'acting (behaving) continuously and consistently as if you were a single fictional character in situations that force you to improvise your reactions'.

CRPGs are limited in that your choice of actions and reactions are limited by what the game is wired to do. In WoW, you can emote whatever you like, but you can't attack someone with PvP turned off, or anyone on your side.

Table-tops are limited in that your choice of actions and reactions are limited by the GM's attention. You can say that you're leaving the dungeon now, but if the GM wasn't listening, your character is still caught in the explosive runes trap that berk across the table set off because he's always running ahead like he does when you're playing Baldur's Gate or Neverwinter Nights or chess or whatever so that he gets all the attention.

LARPs are limited by what you look like and your acting skills. You can attack who you like, walk out of that dungeon, get some fresh air, sit and chat over a beer about the army of undead just outside and/or make crude masturbation jokes, but you can't fight non-humanoid mythical creatures. Your actions and reactions all happen in real time, because they're actually happening. You overhear someone's conversation because you happen to be listening rather than because it's important plot. You see what you see, and make of it what you will. It's realistic.

Not everyone wants that, of course, and most geeks take themselves too seriously to dress up in costume or submit to face paint or exercise. Realism and roleplaying doesn't even appeal to a great many geeks. It was what I was after all along.

Disclaimer: Most LARP is actually rubbish. All it takes is 5 guys and 3 books for most table-top games, which makes it cheap and easy. You just need to find the right 5 guys and the right 3 books. With LARP, you need around 20-30 good players and 2-5 good and dedicated refs, along with kit between them that would cost in the thousands. The chances of that happening is minute.

KBKarma:

The_root_of_all_evil:
Primary Rule of D&D : All Rules are optional.

The Three Rules of Paranoia:
1) The GM is ALWAYS right. Even if he was wrong, he was right AT THE TIME. Argue, and get killed.
2) Entertain or die. If you're entertaining, you get Perversity Points, which you can use to alter rolls, resulting in you living longer. Don't be entertaining, and the GM may kill you.
3) You don't know the rules. If you show knowledge of the rules, that's treason, which is punishable by summary execution.

Rule 0 : Happiness is Mandatory. Keep Your Laser Handy. Trust The Computer.
Any clone knowing of Rule 0 is a Traitor. Any Clone not Following Rule 0 is a Traitor.

Have a nice day, Citizen.

'Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt!'

And the Star Wars Kid represents all Star Wars fans?
We all have our crosses to bear.

Disclaimer: Most LARP is actually rubbish. All it takes is 5 guys and 3 books for most table-top games, which makes it cheap and easy. You just need to find the right 5 guys and the right 3 books. With LARP, you need around 20-30 good players and 2-5 good and dedicated refs, along with kit between them that would cost in the thousands. The chances of that happening is minute.

I'd invite you along to the next LARP we do which costs about 2 each for the roomhire; and can be run with less than 10 players; all of whom will leave raving about it. And maybe 2 refs.
The chance of that happening is actually quite high.

If you're in America, I can recommend GenCon Indy; England has many Conventions as well.

FavouredEnemy:
With table-top RPGs, the GM handles all the interactions with anyone who isn't another player, and sometimes even then. You frequently compete with the other players for the attention of the GM.

Table-tops are limited in that your choice of actions and reactions are limited by the GM's attention. You can say that you're leaving the dungeon now, but if the GM wasn't listening, your character is still caught in the explosive runes trap that berk across the table set off because he's always running ahead like he does when you're playing Baldur's Gate or Neverwinter Nights or chess or whatever so that he gets all the attention.

You've been playing with a pretty crappy GM.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here