Thursday, March 14, 2013

This is a journey into the Hell of Hells

So I might find myself running a D&D Type 4 game this weekend.

In the year 2000, I had been playing Type 2 for a few years, at least two, and then, several times a week, easily more than 300 sessions, so figure more than 1,000 hours.

Maybe 2,000 or more.

When Type 3 dropped, my gaming group ran to the local game shop (long since defunct) and checked out the new books. We thought the art was great, we thought the layout was cool. We thought the rules were shit.

Apparently, we were the only humans on the planet who thought that, but none the less, we were horrified by the new rules.

To us, they were dumbing down the game, making it more munchkin friendly, and generally betraying the game we held dear.

We took it as a slap in the face and looked down on the game, the people that made it, and especially the people who played it.

Fast forward.

Type 4 announced.

"Maybe this won't be shit," says I.

Then I watched a developer diary video where some suit from Wizards tells me the game is designed to allow for and encouraged min/maxing. And he used the term min/maxing.

And rage ate my heart.

Min/maxing, or the process of making sure that your character is optimized in every way, that he has the best "build" that all negatives have been minimized and all bonuses maximized, this was mortal sin. Cardinal sin.

From day fucking one the D&D I played was not about who could roll the biggest numbers. It was about the adventure, what was happening, how we reacted, how interpersonal relationships developed, how we failed, and how we triumphed despite our failures.

And I did then as I do now feel that this type of game is superior to others.

The rules exist as a framework for playing the game, playing the game is not playing the rules.

Shit, I can distinctly remember at least one session where we didn't even have dice.

Type 4 looked like it was built on the antithesis of my gaming philosophy.

A lot of folks seemed to hate it as well and I felt justified. I took sick satisfaction in every negative review I read.

Then I started reading blogs. Gaming blogs, OSR blogs, game design blogs.

And I gave up on D&D. Which is to say, I quit giving a shit about the "official" version of my game. In my opinion, it has sucked for more than a decade, and therefore long past the point where I should even think about it. Fuck it. I have my game and I'm happy with it.

I have even reached the point now where I'm trying to rid myself of the "My D&D is better than your D&D" mindset.

'cause what's the fucking point?

So long as you aren't playing FATAL, your game probably has some merit and so long as you're not coming to my house and slapping the dice out of my hand, who am I to kick you in the throat and cram my horseshit nerd game down your gullet.

To that end, I may end up playing in/maybe DMing a Type 4 game this Friday.

Just thinking those words turns my guts. But this is about growing and development, right?

Also, I hope to lead the noobs who are playing the game in the paths of righteousness, convert them to a more elegant form of D&D, from a more civilized age.

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