Where to begin?
This first post turned out to be tougher to write than I expected. My first instinct was to go into the history of Dungeons & Dragons. After I fought that urge, I thought to go into my own personal history with the game. How I got started playing, what I love about it, what I hate. That didn’t seem right either. Something about this new endeavor seemed to ask me to write about the FUTURE of the game, at least as far as I’m concerned. That’s the idea that finally clicked, so here goes!
I’m one of the fortunate adults who manages to find time for their hobby on a weekly basis. While I’m grateful to be able to play Dungeons & Dragons so often, the games I typically play in do not fit the vision I have for how I’d like to spend my free time. This isn’t a put-down for either of my alternating DM’s. I know running a game takes a lot of work and the effort they make every other week is greatly appreciated. I think my discontent with the games we play has more to do with the direction the hobby has taken as a whole rather than a particular DM’s ability to tell a story or memorize rules. For this reason I aim to change my gaming habits in 2014 and bring them more in line with my ideal.
Anyone who takes the D&D game seriously is probably aware of the edition wars that plague the hobby today. I’m not particularly keen on turning THIS post into a lightning rod for that topic. There’s a time and a place for it and this is post neither. I will say that the resurgence of older gaming systems and retro-clones has helped me bring my own gaming likes and dislikes into perspective. Less rules, more creativity; Less balance, more responsible DMing; Less fluff and more crunch. I’m determined to shape my own games into cooperative improvisational adventure storytelling, rather than tactical numbers based combat on a grid with tokens. I’m also determined to introduce more people to the hobby in the same was I was introduced to it: with a bare minimum of rules knowledge required, and an absolute reliance on creativity. Imagination has always been the best engine for role playing games. I’ll never understand why we gamers have abandoned that for vast libraries of “balanced” rules that only support the most statistically powerful characters you can build.