Thursday, April 09, 2009


Lately, I've spend a fair amount of time reading the Grognardia blog ( To those who are familiar with my gaming tastes, this may seem quite odd. I'm rather firmly opposed to old-school D&D type gameplay these days. I despise dungeons. I dislike Vancian magic. The lack of defined options in the game is a turn-off. I left D&D before 2e because it didn't adquetately emulate what I wanted fantasy roleplaying to emulate (i.e., it didn't feel anything at all like the fantasy novels I was reading feverishly at the time as a junior high kid in the mid-80s.

I'm certainly old enough to be a fairly grognardy type guy, and I did get my start with D&D sometime prior 1980 or so (not sure with which edition, although it must have been some variety of pre-BD&D). At the time, my friend who was trying to run an adventure for me didn't seem to get that I was clearly much more interested in his Kenner Star Wars toy collection. Ah, Clark. How I missed you when you moved away, and took your Death Star playset with you. His collection was actually the most complete I'd ever seen. He had it all. This was all prior to the release of The Empire Strikes Back.

A few years later I actually made a move into D&D on purpose; reading through the Moldvay and Mentzer sets with some friends who were into it. This was, of course, the heyday of D&D when it was available in mainstream retail outlets and almost every male kid my age at least tried it out or looked into it. Probably right around 1982-3. I didn't play it religiously, though. I migrated briefly into AD&D over the next few years, and also tried out some other TSR produced roleplaying games like Gamma World, Top Secret (one of my favorites still today), Star Frontiers, etc. But none of them really crystalized as a hobby of choice for me.

That didn't happen until later. In the 90s, I was still not really playing but hanging around the fringes of hobby, buying the occasional product and whatnot, and I got somewhat excited about the White Wolf movement. I always preferred Werewolf to Vampire, but still... the gist of both of them was the same anyway. I managed to play some Top Secret again with some friends of mine as an adult, and holy crap, this was a lot more fun with adults than it ever had been as a kid. As a kid, I enjoyed tinkering with homebrewing and drawing maps much more than I actually enjoyed playing, but now that was no longer the case. I stumbled across Third Edition D&D right as it was only a month or two from being released, and that's when I finally made it really my #1 hobby (well, #2. I still like reading more.)

Over time, I found that many of the D&Disms that I didn't like back in the day... well, I still didn't like them. I didn't like the tactical, miniatures combat element of d20. I preferred to focus on some "non-standard" options to the exclusion of the standard ones, and play a bit fast and loose with the rules rather than interpret them strictly. I migrated more to d20 Modern as a generic tool as opposed to D&D's more specific nature. When 4th edition came out just recently, I was politely disinterested from the get-go.

Today, I've found that I'm a bit more tolerant of D&D's foibles, at least as the 3.5 edition has them. Part of that is the numerous options I have of dealing with them; alternate core classes, alernate magic systems, and an entire book of "official" houserules to patch and modify the way the game plays.

But even so, I like the Grognardia blog. The author seems a nice guy, and although I'm not that interested in his style of gaming, I think he still manages to drum up some really interesting discussion points, even for a guy like me.

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