2012/01/01

Why craving for a new RPG when i can just modify D&D?


This is incoherent to me, makes no sense at all. This kind of reasoning seems to entail that D&D has to be the main ingredient in any case.Starting from it, we can then add further blocks and pieces, omitting those aspects which we deem useless and modifying those others that in our opinion can be improved.

In any of these instances, D&D keeps being regarded in terms of Monism, -a theory that only one basic substance or principle exists as the ground of reality.

If i truly believe that i cannot reason (i am not entitled to reason), invent, or dream something new without taking into account D&D (at least a little bit of it), then the argument is sound. Otherwise, it makes no sense and is certainly detrimental to the hobby (it was and still is detrimental).

For, it is like going to sleep and making the same dream again.

Let's say that Dragon Warriors is THE fantasy game (played by almost anyone under the sun and around which the OSR formed and flourished),and AD&D still doesn't exist.

If, for any reason i'm dissatisfied with it(in spite of the fact that almost anyone commends it), i don't just "modify it" to suit my needs- instead, i'd rather getting rid of it, i'd rather create/adopt/opt for a different fantasy RPG which better embodies what Fantasy is to me.

Here the distinction is abysmal, similar to Howard's Hyboria and Tolkien's Middle Earth. Both are fantasy conception, but at the same time they are incredibly different from each other in terms of feeling, atmosphere and even "philosophical conception".And is it not entirely possible to like and accept as fantasy Howard's creation but not feeling excited while reading "The Silmarillion"?

Exactly the same happens with the multitude of fantasy rpg published since the dawning of the hobby. It is clear that the experience i can have playing Stormbringer is different from the one i have when playing D&D, and i know that even playing Dragon Warriors is not the same as playing D&D, but i am aware that a lot of fellows players out there would hardly recognize this instantly, and they would instead just label DW as yet another fantasy rpg- only under a different name.Or perhaps they would even call DW a "modified version of D&D- thus erasing istantly its nature, denying it.

At the very least, i would expect someone saying that the need to write DW stemmed from the desire to modify D&D a little bit.
True, but in most cases this linkage arises from the need of "erasing" the starting point (namely, D&D), or CONFUTE it.

And in the end this is the only relationship which remains with the starting point, because the final draft of the RPG bears no resemblance to D&D (yes, it bears a lot of resemblance with D&D in terms of mechanics- there is in fact the usual section about character generation, followed by the chapter about Combat and probably the chapter about Magic)- but it bears no resemblance as to the Spirit of the game.

At that point, undoubtedly a new fantasy rpg is born, and a few will choose to follow that path instead of the old D&D.
D&D will lose some followers, it cannot be avoided. And in fact it happened a lot of times historically.

The pillars of D&D, the foundation of D&D is not infallible, that is another reason why no one should just "modify it", but rather,adopt another game.

Not creating or moving towards another fantasy rpg- and believing instead to solve the problem MODIFYING D&D is fallacious, is simply an illusion. You will end up playing D&D in any case because you didn't destroy or removed its nature.

Again, this is why other fantasy rpg's exist and were created- they are alternatives, they incarnate different opinions, positions, different views. They are not just "modified versions of D&D". Calling them so amounts to a blasphemy.

It means denying their true nature, their individuality, their ESSENCE, their SOUL.

It would be a nonsense if someone told me- after seeing my dissatisfaction with Dragon Warriors -
"you can modify it and be happy, the solution to improve what you don't like in it is modifying it"-
because maybe in the meantime i dreamt a new game instead, - i will call it Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, it is in my mind and i'm about to write it down.

And Dragon Warriors - the alleged "invincible" fantasy game, is going to have its new, first enemy.

And if, in the future, anyone is not able to recognize the peculiar soul of my game, mistaking it for "yet another modified D&D version"- well, i'm honestly not concerned with it, there will always be those equipped with eyes to see.

2 comments:

perdustin said...

I agree.

There are people who drink wine and there are people who savor it. Drinkers may have a favorite wine, but they do not spend much effort in analyzing the variety available. People who savor wine enjoy the varieties and appreciate the factors that combine to create any given vintage.

D&D is the common ground; it is the prevailing "operating system." It is the basis for comparison because it is what the majority knows. Starting from scratch is hard work whereas adapting from the existing standard is not. Also, the OGL makes it easy to establish a 'personal brand' of D&D.

David Macauley said...

The pillars of D&D, the foundation of D&D is not infallible, that is another reason why no one should just "modify it", but rather,adopt another game.

Not creating or moving towards another fantasy rpg- and believing instead to solve the problem MODIFYING D&D is fallacious, is simply an illusion. You will end up playing D&D in any case because you didn't destroy or removed its nature.


While I understand what you are saying, I don't agree with any of this at all. Since when has modifying D&D become the wrong thing to do? It's what the authors of the game did all along and what we as gamers have always done. It is WHY there is such a proliferation of RPGs.

It’s important to remember the original intention of D&D which is summed up in the final paragraph of the 3rd booklet:

There are unquestionably areas which have been glossed over. While we deeply regret the necessity, space requires that we put in the essentials only, and the trimming will oftimes have to be added by the referee and his players. We have attempted to furnish an ample framework, and building should be both easy and fun. In this light, we urge you to refrain from writing for rule interpretations or the like unless you are absolutely at a loss, for everything herein is fantastic, and the best way is to decide how you would like it to be, and then make it just that way! On the other hand, we are not loath to answer your questions, but why have us do any more of your imagining for you? Write to us and tell about your additions, ideas, and what have you. We could always do with a bit of improvement in our refereeing.

Of course Gygax later realised that it made business sense to make the game “Official” after the initial idea became too successful and the flood of RPGs began to swamp the scene (robbing TSR of market share), although it was a move that would later bite him in the arse when he left TSR and tried to write new games.

But the point is D&D has always been about people modifying the game to suit their own needs – “the best way is to decide how you would like it to be, and then make it just that way!” D&D wasn’t designed to be set in stone, but to be a toolbox for people to use as they saw fit.

Although TSR D&D in all its versions is flexible enough that they are easily compatible with one another, they can also be played with very different styles - not only from one another, but within a single ruleset.

You would have to strip out an incredible amount of fundamentals to make a typical RPG be nothing like D&D, and if that is a person’s aim then I agree, they should simply consider playing a different game. But D&D itself is incredibly flexible which again is why there has been such a multitude of D&D-like games produced over the years.

I am in no way against other RPGs and think the wide diversity of games is a wonderful thing. I do however strongly believe that people will play and obsess over what they enjoy. That is why most people tend to eat the same thing when they dine at an all-you-can-eat buffet/smorgasbord – despite the large variety to choose from. They partake of that they know and love, even after having sampled other options. People drink Coke not because it’s the most widely recognised brand, but because they like it. Getting frustrated or angry at people because they are still in love with D&D decades later seems to me to be a futile exercise, like King Canute trying to hold back the incoming tide.

The history of RPGs is one of natural selection, with the gamers doing the selecting.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...