Tag Archives: new editions

D&D: the Future

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Predicting is always a tricky prospect. Where will D&D be in five years? 10 years? 20?

rpg blog carnival logoWhile I would love to sing D&D’s praises to the highest, I’m afraid that five years down the road, I won’t be playing it. What I mean is, that it’s unlikely I’ll be playing whatever the current edition of that time is. Most likely, I’ll still be playing 3.5 ed with the occasional “beer and pretzels” 1st ed game.

You see, I actually left the D&D fold completely after the introduction of 2nd ed. After playing (pretty much exclusively) D&D for almost 10 years, I got far more intrigued by other games: Amber, GURPS, Ars Magica, Trinity, World of Darkness, Traveller, various home-brew systems, including my own. I’d gotten frustrated with 1st ed’s limitations — that a thief always had the same skills as every other thief, etc., not to mention the whole alignment controversy (which I won’t go into here).

It was 3rd ed. that brought me back. The addition of skills and feats meant that I could have a thief that was more of a highway man, or a magic-user who was a “people person” and not a high-powered blaster. But despite the new additions to the system, I felt it still managed to keep the flavor of D&D. Now don’t ask me to quantify why — I can’t. It’s just to me it still, for some untangible reason, “feels” like the 1st ed. D&D done better.

Now 4th ed. doesn’t do a thing for me. To me, it feels like an MMORG brought to the tabletop. Not a bad thing, if that’s what you’re into and I can see how it would be very accessible for brand new players. It looks like, from my read-throughs, that it’s a good game in it’s own right. It’s just not my cup of tea for a number of reasons. And, to me, it doesn’t feel like D&D. Again, that’s an emotional, gut-reaction and I can’t put my finger on why. But because of it, I’m very unlikely to buy anything from the line.

Will there be a D&D in the future? I think there’ll still be something called “Dungeons and Dragons”. It’s staying power has been proven. Will I be playing it? That all depends on what the game does between now and then.

This post is part of the RPG Blogger’s July Blog Carnival.

Upgrading

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After taking a look at the new AD&D, 4th edition, I’m reminded yet again why I don’t convert my games to the latest rules edition when it first comes out. Now, this isn’t a review of 4th ed. I’ve only leafed through it, so I can’t give you an educated opinion. The first thing, though, that did strike me right off the bat — it’s an entirely different game from the first three editions.

Which got me thinking. I’m famous (infamous?) in my gaming groups for insisting on running “obsolete” versions of a game. Heck, I’m still using second edition World of Darkness rules. The main reason, of course, is that I already know the system. I’m not having to flip back to review the rules every few minutes. I’m a bit of a Luddite, I guess, when it comes  to game systems. I’m loathe to give up something that’s working just fine as it is. Of course, the fact that my shelves are packed with material from the previous editions of a game and I’m cornering the market on out-of-print game books, may have something to do with it.

But it’s more than just not wanting to shell out $40+ on a system “upgrade” or not having to find unfamiliar tables. It’s also a belief that, in general, these older game systems are still good. They’re not like old computer games — you don’t have to worry about new hardware making your 1st ed AD&D books unplayable.  Don’t get me wrong – I do buy new games and run them. I’m always chomping at the bit to try my latest acquisition. But I also like to continue running the old games, too. (Though, I admit, my players did get me to stop running two different campaigns with two different editions of the game system at the same time. Something about not being able to keep the games straight. Whiners 😉 .)

Playing older games, I think, gives us a connection with the history of our hobby.  Yeah, there’s certain amount of nostalgia there — it brings back old memories of game sessions long past, when everything was new and exciting. Sometimes it’s fun to go back, to remember what brought us to gaming in the first place. Beyond that, though, there’s a reminder of how much gaming’s changed over the last 30+ years.

It’s come a long way.