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View Poll Results: How important is D&D to you

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  • I would play any fantasy game

    98 59.76%
  • I would play any thematicly similar fanasty game (Monsters!)

    20 12.20%
  • I would play a D&D setting (FR, Eberron, etc) no matter what rules were used

    23 14.02%
  • D&D only

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Thread: Would you play D&D if it wasn't D&D

  1. #61
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    Yesterday I ran into a thread on another board which argued that there's really no such thing as "standard" D&D. Illustrative quotes come not from the posters but from Gygax and Arneson in the 1974 edition of D&D:

    DUNGEONS and DRAGONS will provide a basically complete, nearly endless campaign of all levels of fantastic-medieval wargame play. Actually, the scope need not be restricted to the medieval; it can stretch from the prehistoric to the imagined future...
    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!
    So there was no "standard" D&D, at least at first. Later editions, notably AD&D and D&D 4e, added rules which conveyed a narrow idea of what the game could be. Exemplar adventures reinforced the "elves, orcs, and +1 swords" dungeon delve paradigm, as two commentaries on "Keep on the Borderlands" have noted. (Raggi 2011) (JB 2011)
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

  2. #62
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    Pretty much describes the Old School view in a nutshell. As that was the set of books I started with I keep to it.

    The books are a system, a skeleton on which you lay the meat of the game. The Game is the property of the GM and the players. That is what makes a Game, not the books. No two Games will be the same even if they use exactly the same source books. The only "right" way to play is to take ownership of the Game and make it wholly yours.

    One reason I don't have a lot of respect for things like the RPGA or the Pathfinder Society. The Game does not belong to the GM and the Players, they only get to borrow it. I consider the whole shared experience model of gaming a perversion of the very concept. A good Game is the private possession of its participants, not a public park. A good Game is more precious than gold.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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  3. #63
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    Yeah, the ownership aspect of pre-"Papa Gygax" era D&D was mentioned upthread a couple months back.

    Quote Originally Posted by tesral View Post
    <snip>The only "right" way to play is to take ownership of the Game and make it wholly yours.

    <snip>I consider the whole shared experience model of gaming a perversion of the very concept. A good Game is the private possession of its participants, not a public park. A good Game is more precious than gold.
    Ah, the "spiritual, not religious" argument applied to gaming. Y'know, potentially inflammatory and alienating phrasing aside, what's wrong with people wanting to be part of something larger than themselves or their gaming groups)?

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    If that is what floats your boat. I have never felt compelled to be "part of something larger". The communal urge is something I lack entirely. I have yet to see a RPGA/Pathfinder event i would want to be part of. The play is very mechanical, rushed from encounter ot encounter (A necessity as time is limited.) Event/Convention gaming is a whole different animal. I've run convention events, I've played in them. They are not great places fior a role-playing experience. For a quirky fun one off game, a place to try something you wouldn't otherwise do, sure. Using events as your sole source of RPG play is like trying to live off carnival "food". Elephant ears and corn dogs are certainly fun to eat. A steady diet of same, not so much.
    \
    As to inflammatory, clearly marked as my opinion.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sascha View Post
    ... what's wrong with people wanting to be part of something larger than themselves or their gaming groups?
    Apart from the standardization and regimentation of corporate events, which I know little about, there is the problem of "too many cooks". For a moment, think of gaming as creative writing. A typical gaming group is like a group of writers, traditionally with the DM/GM/blah blah as head writer. (Some indie games, like Primetime Adventures, make this literally true.) Now imagine a bunch of writing groups collaborating on a larger work of fiction; to maintain consistency you need either a Head of Heads or a Writer's Bible (written by some guy) or both. Even with some sort of gatekeeper, inconsistencies creep in over time and among parallel titles, as comic books, long-running TV series, and movie franchises demonstrate.

    RPGs (remember them?) have some shared game worlds, like Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun, World of Darkness, Glorantha, and Tekumel. "Everyone's Glorantha is different", say most Glorantha products, and the same could be said for the others ... even with an M. A. R. Barker, Ed Greenwood, or Greg Stafford providing "official" answers. White Wolf's metaplot delighted some and annoyed others; after publishing the apocalypse of the Old World of Darkness in favor of a new and less cut-and-dried version, fans and dipping sales forced White Wolf to support the old stuff again. The more a game company tightens its grip, the more alternate continuities and die-hard grognards slip through their fingers. So while one can feel a spiritual connection to other fans of Tekumel, Glorantha, or a World of Darkness, each GM will still have his own house rules and carefully inspect crossover characters for conformance to their own variant.

    From what I can tell, the Camarilla is the opposite of the RPGA: largely anarchic and bottom up, independent of corporate interference (after some bitter legal fights). From what I've heard it does have other problems, notably cliquishness and (appropriately enough) a feudal hierarchy built into its all important experience system. It's also a LARP, and once you convince people to pretend they're vampires who can become invisible, maybe it's easier to convince them of anything.
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by fmitchell View Post
    RPGs (remember them?) have some shared game worlds, like Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun, World of Darkness, Glorantha, and Tekumel. "Everyone's Glorantha is different", say most Glorantha products, and the same could be said for the others ... even with an M. A. R. Barker, Ed Greenwood, or Greg Stafford providing "official" answers. White Wolf's metaplot delighted some and annoyed others; after publishing the apocalypse of the Old World of Darkness in favor of a new and less cut-and-dried version, fans and dipping sales forced White Wolf to support the old stuff again. The more a game company tightens its grip, the more alternate continuities and die-hard grognards slip through their fingers. So while one can feel a spiritual connection to other fans of Tekumel, Glorantha, or a World of Darkness, each GM will still have his own house rules and carefully inspect crossover characters for conformance to their own variant.
    To say again. People that use a published product have to take ownership of the Game. At some point you have to say, "here and no further" to supplements. Thereafter any additional material has to audition for the Game. It doesn't get an automatic pass for being labeled "Forgotten Realms" for example.

    Why? Because you and your players will change the shape of the world. That is the whole point of an RPG. Once your game begins it is no longer standard what ever world you use. It is now a custom setting that used the published material as a starting point. That is why the only "right" way to play is to take ownership of the game. It really doesn't matter to me what stylistic choices you make past that point even if I loath your choices. Not mine to judge If you are having fun with it. But, you need to take ownership of the Game. MY game, not Lizard's Game, not Whitewolf's Game, etc.. You and your players will create characters and situations that can radically change the shape of the world, and you should. It's your world, you owe nothing to continuity that someone else writes.

    In shared worlds such as Pathfinder Society and the RPGA, you never make a difference in the world. You and every person at the Event are going to run through the same modulo. Nothing will change becasue Bob the Barbarian did the adventure. They are like theme park rides. The fact you rode it makes it no different for the next set of riders. You might have had a blast, but next weekend that ride will be just the same. That is a sponsored Event. Essensially souless thrill rides for RPG characters.

    Worse, once your character starts down this path it is a contract with the devil. You can never have unsanctioned fun with that character. They are locked in to the RPG theme park, sentenced to ride the rides forever or 12th level which ever comes first. Every lttle advacment has to stamped signed and verified. The organized part of organized play just sucks all the spontaneity and meaning from the game. Another cog in the great RPG entertainment empire, is all your character is and will ever be.

    Home games, like home made bread are much better in every respect.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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  7. #67
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    Good responses, thanks. Though, one could use the counter-argument that, with the ownership of the game aspect, play styles emerged with divergent rules relationships - one of which is built on shared expectations, rather than individualized interpretation. The "rulings, not rules" attitude didn't then, nor does it now, encompass the big-tent that is the RPG circus.

    Plus Gygax's own public face of absolute rules authority with AD&D. His public and private stances towards rules-relationship aren't great evidence, one way or the other. It's not that great a leap to see how distaff styles coevolved based on the same man's writings.

    Quote Originally Posted by tesral View Post
    If that is what floats your boat. I have never felt compelled to be "part of something larger".
    Which is fine. Neither have I, actually. (Never been to a con, either; too many people :P) What I inferred from your statement is that there's one 'true' relationship to the rules that everyone must share - imperatives and values statements, and all. Dragon/Dungeon magazine rules articles seem to suggest a demand for more codified play, even before speciation into "Basic" and "Advanced."

    As to inflammatory, clearly marked as my opinion.
    Opinion doesn't necessarily give one a free pass to insinuate gaming heresies towards other play styles. ("Pervert" and all it's conjugations are rather fun words, even disregarding the most-common modern usage. What with referring to "correct/incorrect" religious text interpretation, and all.) There are ways to express the same sentiments, without blanket values statements towards others.

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by tesral View Post
    In shared worlds such as Pathfinder Society and the RPGA, you never make a difference in the world. [...] Worse, once your character starts down this path it is a contract with the devil. You can never have unsanctioned fun with that character. [...] Another cog in the great RPG entertainment empire, is all your character is and will ever be.
    Dramatic much? There's nothing stopping you from forking the same character: one version for official play, the other for the home game. The official play version scratches the competitive gamist itch, the home version scratches the story-telling, simulationist, and/or chilling with friends itch.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sascha View Post
    Though, one could use the counter-argument that, with the ownership of the game aspect, play styles emerged with divergent rules relationships - one of which is built on shared expectations, rather than individualized interpretation. The "rulings, not rules" attitude didn't then, nor does it now, encompass the big-tent that is the RPG circus.

    Plus Gygax's own public face of absolute rules authority with AD&D. His public and private stances towards rules-relationship aren't great evidence, one way or the other. It's not that great a leap to see how distaff styles coevolved based on the same man's writings.
    If memory serves, AD&D's was Gygax's baby, and Basic/Classic D&D matched Arneson's style. (Did they cut him out of the company at that point?) Even the creators never really agreed, never mind the people who used their product. Then other guys over the past 35+ years looked at D&D and said, "no, it should be like this" and we get the diversity we have today.

    Diversity is good. Every variation, even ones which mandate no variation, appeals to someone.

    ---------- Post added at 09:06 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:00 PM ----------

    P. S. This is just my opinion, but Tesral is a cranky old grognard. And a half-orc. Not to be inflammatory. It's just my opinion.
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

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    Actually, I think you just proved Tesral's point (if I may be so bold as to speak for the grognard).

    The Pathfinder Society is, by all descriptions, a STATIC world that is NOT personal. It's like being on a movie set as an extra... you can have all the fun you want, as long as you don't do anything PERSONAL. Yes, I can play Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars Society (as an example) so long as I abide by the rules and NON-WORLD-CHANGING EDICTS that are in effect - but as soon as I take the same character sheet home, I can do what I want - to include getting the whiny git killed. Tes is speaking (I believe) purely of the former, the strict, "This is our world and thou shalt not muck it up" Society.

    Then, you say that it fills a niche (which it does), BUT, you then take the Pathfinder setting home to make it YOUR OWN. This, by definition, is NOT "Pathfinder Society" - it's Tesral's Society, or FMitchell's Society - but it no longer is "public" - it's PERSONALLY owned.

    And, yes, Dave Arneson was out by AD&D - and (almost) all record of his involvement in D&D was being erased. This was done by 1978/79/80.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sascha View Post
    Good responses, thanks. Though, one could use the counter-argument that, with the ownership of the game aspect, play styles emerged with divergent rules relationships - one of which is built on shared expectations, rather than individualized interpretation. The "rulings, not rules" attitude didn't then, nor does it now, encompass the big-tent that is the RPG circus.

    Plus Gygax's own public face of absolute rules authority with AD&D. His public and private stances towards rules-relationship aren't great evidence, one way or the other. It's not that great a leap to see how distaff styles coevolved based on the same man's writings

    Which is fine. Neither have I, actually. (Never been to a con, either; too many people :P) What I inferred from your statement is that there's one 'true' relationship to the rules that everyone must share - imperatives and values statements, and all. Dragon/Dungeon magazine rules articles seem to suggest a demand for more codified play, even before speciation into "Basic" and "Advanced."

    .
    Gygax changed his opinion over time, so yes, his writings support just about any view you want. I do not lean on Gygax for anything or for justification.

    Ownership of the Game has nothing to do with system. It is not a style of rule interpretation, it is not Old School, New School or Middle School. Rules and how you treat them is not Ownership of the Game.

    System: That is the rules, the source books, the tools you use in creating and playing the Game.

    The Game: The game is the actual world and you treatment of same. The Game is an intangible you create with your players, or you Game Master. Rob and Bob can take the same rules, the same exact books, and the same philosophy on rules and create two very different Games.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sascha View Post
    Opinion doesn't necessarily give one a free pass to insinuate gaming heresies towards other play styles. ("Pervert" and all it's conjugations are rather fun words, even disregarding the most-common modern usage. What with referring to "correct/incorrect" religious text interpretation, and all.) There are ways to express the same sentiments, without blanket values statements towards others.
    Except there are no "heresies" here. Ownership of the Game has nothing to do with play style at all. I am not taking about any play style being wrong or right. I want that very clear. Play style is not Ownership of the Game.

    Ownership of the Game is taking what ever you do, and making it 100% your work. It is allowing the characters to make changes to the world around them. It is allowing the evolution of your game setting based on events within the Game, not what someone else adds. It is making source book metaplot bend to the will of what happens in your Game. OK, the GC declared that Bobo the Universal President gets a second term, well my players Killed Bobo, there for that metaplot element fails to make the cut for my Gama, we are going this way. It means that yes, Elmenster can die. What NPCs you allow to live and die is is up to you.

    Once you start the Game, once session one is done what ever is published you are not responsible to. You are responsible to only what you write and what happens at the table. That is Game Ownership.



    Quote Originally Posted by fmitchell View Post
    Dramatic much? There's nothing stopping you from forking the same character: one version for official play, the other for the home game. The official play version scratches the competitive gamist itch, the home version scratches the story-telling, simulationist, and/or chilling with friends itch.
    Then you have two character with the same name. A character is more than the character sheet. They are the sum of the experiences they have. Different experiences, different character.


    Quote Originally Posted by fmitchell View Post
    If memory serves, AD&D's was Gygax's baby, and Basic/Classic D&D matched Arneson's style. (Did they cut him out of the company at that point?) Even the creators never really agreed, never mind the people who used their product. Then other guys over the past 35+ years looked at D&D and said, "no, it should be like this" and we get the diversity we have today.

    Diversity is good. Every variation, even ones which mandate no variation, appeals to someone.


    See above, I'm not picking a style and calling it right. Game Ownership is not involved in play style.



    Quote Originally Posted by fmitchell View Post
    P. S. This is just my opinion, but Tesral is a cranky old grognard. And a half-orc. Not to be inflammatory. It's just my opinion.
    I would think that a community moderator would not lower themselves to Trolling. This is clearly trolling. Shame.

    Yes, I am a cranky old Grognard. I have characters sheets older than good many forum members. What's your point?


    Quote Originally Posted by Malruhn View Post
    Then, you say that it fills a niche (which it does), BUT, you then take the Pathfinder setting home to make it YOUR OWN. This, by definition, is NOT "Pathfinder Society" - it's Tesral's Society, or FMitchell's Society - but it no longer is "public" - it's PERSONALLY owned..
    Yes, exactly. The PS or RPGA own their world, not yours. You need to own your world completely. No outside agency dictates what is in your world.
    Last edited by tesral; 09-02-2011 at 12:27 PM.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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    Sorry, but I could have sworn I smelled an invisible smiley in FMitchell's post.

    And you guys are poopyheads, because I had to go and look up "Grognard"... I had thunk it was just a made up word that meant something akin to, "Drunkard" - but I was wrong... it really DOES exist!

    And Friday evenings are NOT supposed to be used learning stuff!!

    (insert petulant, pouty face here!)

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    which definition did you find, btw? the americanized one or the original-ish french?
    nijineko the gm: AG16, CoS. nijineko the player: AtG, RttToH; . The Journal of Tala'elowar Kiyiik! .
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    Grognard: n: Old Soldier. Originally a member of Napoleon’s Imperial Guard, later to refer to old war gamers that want you off their lawn.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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    That's the one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malruhn View Post
    That's the one.
    Get off my lawn.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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