Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Year of the RPG

To show how out of touch with the hobby mainstream I have been, it literally never occurred to me throughout the entirety of 2014 that it was the 40th anniversary of D&D and therefore of the hobby itself.  D'oh!  And this as I had a friend named Dave who always signed off internet posts, on hobby related topics, with a tagline proclaiming that OD&D (1974) is the One True Game.  All others are a pale imitation.  For years, I saw that, and yet it still never occurred to me that naturally 2014-1974 is 40 years.  Man.  Facepalm, and all that.

However, considering that my attachment to D&D specifically is rather tenuous--I'm playing, on the very rare occasions when we do play (I think it's well over six months since a session has been held) a home-brewed d20 Star Wars, and my own efforts in design and general tom-foolery with RPGs have been focused on Microlite for some time now--maybe it's not terribly surprising that the whole year came and went without me thinking about it.

That said, even I'm not immune from the occasional trip into sentimentality and nostalgia.  I've had a lot of fun with D&D over the years, and would not at all be averse to playing it again with a good group, especially if it's one of the rulesets that's either flexible or light or both.  Which ones would I be willing to play?  Interesting question.
  • Some time ago, I proposed to my gaming group a one-shot--or at least few-shots game of B/X D&D--the original Basic/Expert Moldvay series from 1981, which was based on the earlier Holmes Basic set.  The Holmes set was meant to be a revision and clean-up of the original OD&D rules, while the Moldvay set reflected a schism at TSR over the direction of D&D as a whole; the Basic set, while substantially revised and changed by Moldvay meant to emulate the original "spirit" of the game, if you will, while Gygax himself went on to AD&D which was an increasingly arcane and complicated ruleset with a much greater preponderance of rules to follow.  I have no interest in playing AD&D (1st or 2nd edition) but I could go for some B/X D&D.  Especially if we played the original modules that came with the game--B2 Keep on the Borderlands and X1 Isle of Dread as a prelude to doing something original.  Actually, come to think of it, I'd probably prefer this ruleset to be used almost exclusively to be used in a retrospective of classic modules.
  • I'd still play some Third Edition.  Or more likely, 3.5.  It's more rules than I want anymore, but I know the system well, and I know how to get the experience I want out of it.  I've had tons of fun playing this, and am sure that I could do so again.  It's not my first choice anymore, since discovering Microlite, but I wouldn't complain if this is what ended up in front of me.  If I were to run it myself, I'd incorporate a few houserules, many of which I've talked about ad nauseum  on this blog already, a few of which are from Pathfinder, but in general I think Pathfinder took the parts of 3rd Edition that weren't good an amplified them rather than fixing them.  I'd much rather play 3rd Edition than Pathfinder.  If I were running, I'd even consider a pared down and heavily edited (and somewhat redacted) Pathfinder Adventure Path.
  • Although I have no interest whatsoever in 4th edition, 5th Edition seems to be a well-designed game that purports to play more like what I want D&D to play like.  Does it really?  I have no idea!  I've never played it; I've never even read it.  But I'd be willing to give it a go.
  • Although not technically D&D per se, I'd be willing--surprise, surprise--to play one of the Microlite games that's specifically set up to play like D&D, such as regular ole original Microlite, or some variation on the Microlite74 family.
Any version of AD&D is right out; not interested, and the same is true for 4th Edition.  I got bronchitis, ain't nobody got time for dat. Now get me a cold pop!

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