Breaking the spell: OD&D as a poor game

Finally someone has the courage to utter the truth: here.

I dislike OD&D as well, there are a lot of alternatives to it. And there WERE several alternatives from the very beginning of the hobby.

But everyone is hypnotized by it.
One reason is, it has an aura (undeserved) of being sort of something mystic. This is due to the fact that it was the first fantasy rpg. Had it been Runequest the first, the result would be the same, we would all bow down before it today,without thinking, without judgement, like before an idol of stone.


DHBoggs said...

Oh how I disagreee!

Few people bow down to OD&D in the first place. Far more praise is given to Classic, especially Moldvay or Mentzer.

There certainly were lots of alternatives, some literally within months of D&D's publication. Any of which, had they been better games, would have risen to the top in what was a wide open market in the early 1970's. OD&D's new found popularity cannot be explained simply by it being first.

Catacomb librarian said...

Thanks Boggs for your insight.

i didn't mean that OD&D's popularity (back in the day and nowadays) can be explained just by stressing the fact it was the first rpg, but that this is an important aspect to be taken seriously into account.

Even historians (of whatever field of study) are frequently in awe when they ponder the precursors, in general. The risk is that of falling in the trap of "Ipse dixit"


"Any of which, had they been better games, would have risen to the top in what was a wide open market in the early 1970's"

Are you really so sure that a better product always gets noticed?
That it gets the recognition it deserves just because it in fact deserves it? This would entail that anyone has the eyes to see the beautiful,more- it would also mean that anyone is actively seeking, craving- for the better (is it so? or are we just trying to find a product that can best amuse us? Our demands are often few).

I wrote this post today following my mood when i wrote this phrase commenting a post on Grognardia:

"May the centrality of D&D come to an end as soon as possible.

Old school renaissance was about D&D and nothing more- frankly, that has lasted for too long.

The future of OSR now lies in the other rpg's of the past, so i am happy to see these systems revived as well."


Anonymous said...

He seems to be confusing the books with the game they describe. The books are a mess, yes... but the system is great. It's like a mix of AD&D and BD&D. AD&D without the failed rules experiments tacked on. BD&B with the extra classes that drew everyone to AD&D. I can see why people would consider it ideal.

Plus the books themselves are interesting from a historical perspective, for insight into how those classic campaigns ran.

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