Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Role Playing (Games) Entertainment Games

D&D Is 30 763

mainframemouse writes "For those who have not seen the Beeb article, Dungeons and Dragons is 30 years old. After many years of role-playing is wonderful to see the mother of all RPG's given respect and mention in the national press. There's even a note about the false accusations of the 80's." And for the record - flanking & attacks of opportunity in 3/3.5 Edition still irritate me. Combine a familiar with Master Tactician and some rogue levels, and you're off to the races.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

D&D Is 30

Comments Filter:
  • by danielrm26 ( 567852 ) * on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:30PM (#8973381) Homepage
    Ah, D&D -- the flagship of geek hobbies. Many people do video games or comic books and want to include themselves in the group, but until you've re-written your character sheet 15 times, had discussions about what makes a good DM/GM, and carried around a fuzzy bag full of expensive dice, you aren't the real deal. :)
    • by neilcSD ( 743335 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:41PM (#8973507)
      god...those were the days. eating hohos until 4 in the morning, listening to the same cursed ace of base cd over and over and over...arguing over who gets that uber sword of leetness +1...rerolling and rerolling until you get that leet starting stat list...doing stupid things that piss of your GM and wreck the storyline...woop! great times!!
    • by SoTuA ( 683507 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:50PM (#8973617)
      My first d20 dice is almost a perfect sphere from wear! does that count?

      Ooops... failed my "Burning Karma" saving throw...

    • Re:The flagship... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jim_Maryland ( 718224 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:50PM (#8973619)
      Well it's a good thing I have my son and his friends playing (all in the 10 year old range). They'll be able to consider themselves the "real deal" now.

      Seriously though, my son and his friends love it. With all the "eye candy" offered in the video game world, it's still amazing to see that kids use their imagination to create a fantasy world instead of viewing someone else's version of one.
    • Re:The flagship... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ScottGant ( 642590 ) <[scott_gant] [at] [sbcglobal.netNOT]> on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:52PM (#8973643) Homepage
      I remember playing this for the first time back in 1980. We were playing "AD&D" by the way...hehe.

      The second edition rules were a cludge...everyone knew that...but that's why I loved them. I loved how they worked. When the d20 system came into being..I felt it just lost something. Hard to track down. The second edition rules with their patched together charts...the rules that contradicted other rules etc...that was just part of the fun.

      But the ultimate insult was when "Call of Cthulhu" when to a d20 system. Yes, you can still play with the old rules...which were better...than using the d20 system, but still. They should have just well enough alone. "Call of Cthulhu" was and still is my favorte PnP role playing game. Bar none.

      But the AD&D games me and my friends would play around 1989ish were some of the best times I've had with a group of goof-balls joking around, drinking huge amounts of caffine drinks and pizza and generally just having a good time.
  • Ugh (Score:3, Funny)

    by TheRealMindChild ( 743925 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:31PM (#8973386) Homepage Journal
    I spent way too much of my life on this game. As stupid as it sounds, I am thankful for my mother thinkng D&D was a satanic cult and grounding me for weeks for playing it. Else, I would be ... not the person I am... and I don't mean that in a good way.
    • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:51PM (#8973624)
      I wish I had your mother. Mine was "progressive" and just let me go ahead and play. Now my soul belongs to Mephistopheles and I can look forward to an eternity in boiling excrement.
    • re: Ugh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mtDNA ( 123855 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @01:12PM (#8973871) Homepage
      Speaking of people overreacting to D&D, did you ever see the movie "Mazes and Monsters" starring Tom Hanks (no, I'm not kidding)? It was made in 1982, and Hanks played a D&D obsessed kid who ends up killing his friend because he thinks he's a gnome (or something like that).

      Check out the imdb listing here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084314 [imdb.com]
  • a coincidence (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zptdooda ( 28851 ) <deanpjm&gmail,com> on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:32PM (#8973390) Journal
    Just last night I printed off a bunch of polyhedra polyhedra [wolfram.com] for my six year to cut out and assemble for fun.

    I remember before the Dungeon Master's Guide, Player's Footbook and Monster Manual (which our DM forbade us to read), there was only a thick pamphlet-like book with a few monsters (giant rats, hobgoblin, gelatenous cube), and a sample 1/2 level. There sure were a lot of gelatenous cubes for level 1 ...
  • Congrats! (Score:3, Funny)

    by FortKnox ( 169099 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:32PM (#8973394) Homepage Journal
    Now it can finally use the +8 TwoHanded Sword of Thirtysomething!
  • by ThePlague ( 30616 ) * on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:33PM (#8973398)
    It still hasn't kissed a girl!
  • 3 Decades! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:33PM (#8973407)
    And still proudly living in the parent's basement!
  • Yep (Score:5, Funny)

    by EpsCylonB ( 307640 ) <eps AT epscylonb DOT com> on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:34PM (#8973411) Homepage
    And for the record - flanking & attacks of opportunity in 3/3.5 Edition still irritate me. Combine a familiar with Master Tactician and some rogue levels, and you're off to the races.

    Yep you are a nerd.
  • by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <teamhasnoi AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:34PM (#8973416) Journal
    'I'm sorry, the girl makes a saving throw against your 1st level charm spell. You really need to work on your CHR.'

    'Is there any Mountain Dew? Can I have one?'

  • by dijjnn ( 227302 ) <bwthomas@noSpam.cs.uchicago.edu> on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:34PM (#8973421)
    The other day with a friend about which type of dice hurt the worst to step on. we decided that, while a d4 was bad (the worst if you step straight down hard), that a d8 was really the worst because it rolled with your foot.

    My girlfriend immediately said, "oh my god, i'm dating a nerd."

    Thank you D&D.
  • House rules? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Phs2501 ( 559902 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:35PM (#8973429)
    And for the record - flanking & attacks of opportunity in 3/3.5 Edition still irritate me. Combine a familiar with Master Tactician and some rogue levels, and you're off to the races.

    If they irritate you, change the rules. One of the things a good GM needs to do is to keep the game from becoming too cheezy. If they players are abusing the rules, nerf them! The 3rd Edition Harm spell is a perfect example of something that desperately needs it.

    In my opinion, rules like flanking and attacks of opportunity add a whole lot more tactical depth to the combat without slowing it down much. It's certainly more fun than combat in old D&D.

    • Re:House rules? (Score:3, Informative)

      by mooman ( 9434 )
      Yeah, we have a liberal set of houserules designed to overcome anything we don't like. For flanking, we decided on these [drunkenelf.com].

      I've also concocted very entertaining critical and fumbles rules for melee, missile, and spell scenarios. Far more fun than "Oh, you get double damage" or "the spell just fizzles" over and over.
    • by Dark Lord Seth ( 584963 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:56PM (#8973683) Journal
      If they players are abusing the rules, nerf them!

      Not only is it fun to retaliate on abusive players, it's also fun to get back at players who use annoying, stupid and or nonsensical rules. Or, players who are generally idiots.

      Ingham: I summon a mindflayer and order it to use psionics against the enemy.
      DM: A red dragon eats you.

      Adellon: I cast "Hold Person" on Illandria and grope her breast!
      Illandria: HEY!
      DM: A red dragon rapes you.

      Illandria: What? My attack missed!?
      DM: Yes.
      Illandria: You just said that because I'm a girl!
      DM: A female red dragon kicks your ass.

      Suffice to say, dragon rock as plot elements.

  • by handy_vandal ( 606174 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:35PM (#8973434) Homepage Journal
    For those who have not seen the Beeb article, Dungeons and Dragons is 30 years old.

    Even for those who have *not* seen the Beeb article, Dungeons and Dragons is 30 years old. My state of having seen the article or not has nothing to do with the content of the article.

    Sorry to nitpick, but dammit -- illogical writing leads to fuzzy thinking, which results in irrational behavior. And God knows we could use more rational behavior.

  • by bizpile ( 758055 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:35PM (#8973437) Homepage
    it paved the way for my favorite game, Knights of the Old Republic and really, the whole genre. Makes me want to dust off the ol' board and get the gang back together for another all night game.
  • Ah, D&D (Score:4, Funny)

    by Hanna's Goblin Toys ( 635700 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:36PM (#8973440) Homepage Journal
    It really works [chick.com], you know.
  • my frinds were dorks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by the_2nd_coming ( 444906 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:36PM (#8973452) Homepage
    they did not want to start playing it :-(

    in boy scouts on a camping trip when I was 12 I got hooked on D&D, and I have never been able to play on a sustained period of time... now I am too old, and the people my age that play are so socially backwards that I think I would just laugh at them. oh well.
  • by gid13 ( 620803 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:37PM (#8973462)

    Quote from the link: "The goal of the game [D&D] would be to see who could obtain the most erotic pleasure"

    As my friend who sent me the link originally so accurately stated, "I don't know about you, but my D&D sessions were never like that."

    Btw... D&D is 30... But what about its other attributes? What's its alignment? Strength, dexterity, intelligence, etc? Okay I'm a nerd.
  • by handy_vandal ( 606174 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:39PM (#8973480) Homepage Journal
    It was even a cult at a Wisconsin naval base. "At one time every nuclear submarine had a D&D group," says Arneson.
    - from the article [bbc.co.uk]

    Nuclear submarines? D&D groups?

    My God ... do you think the Commander-in-Chief knows about this?

  • Takes me back a bit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Skyshadow ( 508 ) * on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:39PM (#8973487) Homepage
    I'd forgotten what a pain it was to play D&D in the 80's. You young'uns might not realize it, but for a while D&D was seriously considered as being directly linked to satanism by an awful lot of people. Those morons looked at an activity which was developing imagination, math skills and the ability to think on your feet and somehow twisted it into us getting ready to boil babies or something.

    I remember that "expose'" where they made D&D out to be some big satanic training session because (gasp!) there were demons and devils listed in the Field Folio. And then some shooter someplace had a DMG in his backpack or something like that...

    Parents just ate that shit up. I think a lot of them couldn't understand why we just weren't spending our time watching TV like normal kids. We basically had to operate under the radar or risk losing a several of our players to easily paniced parents.

  • picking on D&D (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zptdooda ( 28851 ) <deanpjm&gmail,com> on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:40PM (#8973496) Journal
    "The game was wrongly implicated in a missing persons case, a teen suicide and a number of murders. Some schools banned the game, and many parents refused to let their children play."

    It bugged me at the time that for the amount of people playing the game, the incidence of suicide seemed lower than in the rest of the general public, but the press never seemed to report that.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:41PM (#8973506)
    is wonderful to see the mother of all RPG's given respect and mention in the national press.

    Well quite, but I must say I prefer throwing high explosive devices than slinging D&D books at monsters in Quake, it's more efficient...
  • Multiplayer Online (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JSkills ( 69686 ) <jskills AT goofball DOT com> on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:43PM (#8973535) Homepage Journal
    Having been a old school D&D player (4 hours after school almost every day in high school), I have always looked forward to the development of D&D PC games. The well thought out rules and balance in D&D kind of spoiled me as I would only play games that used the actual D&D rules (same races, classes, spell names, etc). Even Diablo (although fun at the time) was a stretch because it really didn't use the same conventions. And the multiplayer was all about hacks and player killing.

    Of course I ripped through all of the SSI games and the Baldur's Gate Series. Then came Neverwinter Nights. A beautiful game, but instead of controlling a party of people, it's just one character and a side-kick. This was a big mistake. However, the fact that one could assume the role of Dungeon Master made this game somewhat revolutionary.

    But after playing multiplayer online a bit, I must say, that although I have found some new places to explore (people have spent some time on putting together some very cool levels), it still seems to come down to everyone being 40th level and killing each other. Maybe I'm just not playing in the right places?

    Maybe I'm just missing the old days of getting together with pen paper and the dodecahedrons? I don't think so - who's got time for trying to orchestrate that?

    And yes, I've tried Everquest and just couldn't seem to get into the flow of it. I couldn't see what the "big deal" was ...

    • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday April 26, 2004 @01:21PM (#8973969) Homepage Journal
      If you want games centered on storytelling, then play games which eschew all possible rules. You don't need a detailed character sheet to have a good time.

      My best roleplaying sessions, bar none, have been while playing the Amber Diceless RPG. No dice, four stats, just a few powers to deal with, and a point system so every character (which is based on the same number of points) is more or less equal. Even the powers are balanced; In order to be attuned to the logrus (and it to you) you have to be a shape shifter. Hence the Logrus powers which are arguably more powerful than those of the Pattern are balanced by there being a prerequisite. (And people with the pattern can generally see right through shapeshifters if they're paying attention, so good roleplaying can be rewarded by a good GM.)

      Ultimately, the game comes down to the storyteller, GM, DM, or whatever they're named in your game of choice. It can only be as good as they are creative. The next thing is the players; are they serious about the game? I don't mean you can't make jokes, but the idea is to roleplay right?

      Put another way, the "secret" is to form a group which shares your goals. You sound like you want to roleplay - you need a group of roleplayers. Most computer gamers don't want to roleplay, they want to kill shit. When I play a pen and paper RPG, then the world is open, it can be anything. When I play a computer RPG, this is not true, so I resign myself to killing stuff.

  • by ed.han ( 444783 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:44PM (#8973547) Journal
    on the 30th anniversary of the game, an article about it completely fails to mention the new edition (released 1999) or the revision that came several years later. and you'd think that a journalist would supply sales numbers to support an assertion as to whether or not something is "popular".

  • True Geeks.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dutchmaan ( 442553 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:49PM (#8973606) Homepage
    ..will argue rules in the DM's Guide better than the highest paid lawyers. You don't know arguing until you watch two more geeks citing obscure sentences in backwater paragraphs as evidence in supporting claims that you would swear held the fate of the world in the balance.

    AD&D lawyers have always been the best and worst to play with!
  • ah the nostalgia (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WormholeFiend ( 674934 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:54PM (#8973663)
    The best part of the golden D&D years for me was reading Phil Foglio's cartoon in Dragon Mag.

    Did the characters ever managed to play Sex&Dungeons&Dragons or did I miss that issue entirely?

    • by Embedded Geek ( 532893 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @02:26PM (#8974676) Homepage
      Foglio's official site has a page a bout "What's New?" here [studiofoglio.com]. It also has some of his new stuff ("Girl Genius," "Buck Godot")

      I, too greatly enjoyed WN. I was wondering if other slashdotters might help me with the origin of one of my favorite bits. It's quite OT, but if you feel up to it, please read on...

      There was the WN that detailed superhero RPGs, poking fun at the various super powers, inlcuding worthless ones. One panel had the caption "Gazebo Boy finds his singular power of metamophisis useless against the evil Termite!" and a sketch of a gazebo with human eyes looking on in terror as it is ripped apart by a 15 foot tall termite. For years I had always assumed that Gazebo Boy came straight out of the fevered depths of Foglio's imagination. I came across some references on the net recently, though, that make me wonder if it was a running joke in the comic community that Foglio simply picked up.

      So, does anyone know the origin of the Gazebo Boy joke? Failing that, does anyone know the origin of Gazebo Boy himself (I presume there was a laboratory accident or radioactive wood boring beetle involved somehow)?

  • by samhalliday ( 653858 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:57PM (#8973703) Homepage Journal
    ...of no content.
  • Very interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Orion Blastar ( 457579 ) <orionblastar@@@gmail...com> on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:59PM (#8973715) Homepage Journal
    no mention of the "Chainmail" game that existed before D&D was written though. :) I think D&D was loosely based on the Chainmail rules.

    My favorite character was the Cleric, I'd usually be the guy turning the undead and healing everyone before they died. If I got powerful enough I could reserect the dead characters. I also liked the Anti-Healing spells like Cause Serious Wounds and Finger of Death. Never make fun of a Cleric because they are limited to blunt weapons. :) They might just save your rear when the time comes.

    Ah well, I liked making it to level 36 and then taking the next portal into the underworld and seeing if I could take on the Devil and his minions. Even The Devil fears my characters, and has a good reason to!

    Favorite items to mix up chaos in the game:
    Eye and Arm of Vecna.
    Deck of many things.
    Sword of Kaz.

    Those four are just way over the top. We had a DM that used them all in one game!

    We mostly play Traveller now, a Science Fiction game in the far future. But our GM/DM had us travel into the underworld and changed all of our high tech stuff into midle ages stuff, so it is D&D all over again. :)
  • by Abraxis ( 180472 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @01:02PM (#8973749)
    Pardon the slight off-topicness... but some friends of mine from college started their own production company, and made a movie called "The Gamers". It certainly ain't no hollywood production, but that's the charm of it. Do yourself a favor and grab the DVD and watch it with your gaming buddies to celebrate D&D's 30th... I promise it'll be a good time. I think they have a quicktime trailer and stuff here [deadgentlemen.com].
  • by sammy baby ( 14909 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @01:06PM (#8973800) Journal
    If you remember your times long past playing D&D fondly - heck, if you're still playing it - you really owe it to yourself to check out some independent roleplaying game producers. They're cheap, they're great, they're a break from THAC0 and saving throws and god only knows what else. A great place to start is with The Forge [indie-rpgs.com], which specializes in such games.

    And while you're their, a shout out please for Lumpley, an old friend of mine, and the author of kill puppies for satan: an unfunny roleplaying game [rpg.net]. (I'd link directly to his site, but I doubt it could take the slashdotting. Still, I must advise folks to look him up. And send him money.)
  • No Girls Allowed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Liza ( 97242 ) * <slashdot AT jill-liza DOT us> on Monday April 26, 2004 @01:06PM (#8973803)
    I tried to play D&D, fairly seriously, at three different points in my life.

    In 7th grade, my next door neighbor declared openly that girls couldn't play. Unfortunately, my female friends weren't that interested. I made my sister play, but having never played myself, I was a rotten DM and kept killing her off.

    I had all the books, though, because my Mom was Gary Gygax's divorce lawyer. (He, it seems, thought it was great for girls to play.)

    In high school, a few of us were invited to join the gang playing, but the group was too large and unruly, so extremely little RPing actually got done. The (male) leader of the group blamed the girls and told us we couldn't come back.

    And then a few years ago, when the last big D&D update came out, I thought I was FINALLY going to get to have a full bore D&D adventure.

    Unfortunately, the relationship and social circle exploded fairly dramatically, and I was *not* invited to continue the game. That was the only time it actually felt fair to me, but I was still disappointed. And I've still never ACTUALLY played a game beyond creating a char and playing for an hour or so that day.

    Ah well. On the up side, I'm married and have a great life. :)

  • by Jethro ( 14165 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @01:13PM (#8973882) Homepage
    Anyone remember when mainstream thought D&D was evil and was corrupting our young minds? Apparently anyone who played it couldn't tell the difference between Fantasy and Reality and ended up killing themselves.

    My father (by chance a paranoid hypocondriac) read or heard one such article. This is when I was 18, and not living with him, which of course made him even MORE worried. He tried to sit me down and discourage me from my Evil Ways, and said that he read an article where someone said that people who play D&D can't tell fantasy from reality.

    I told him that that's nonsense, and if I ever see the person who wrote that article I'd cast a fireball at them.

    So he tried to get me into counselling.

    Oh, did I mention my dad has NO sense of humour?
  • Bah! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Art_XIV ( 249990 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @01:19PM (#8973952) Journal

    REAL geeks also play Third Reich, w/o even having to look at the rules. ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2004 @01:24PM (#8974001)
    And for the record - flanking & attacks of opportunity in 3/3.5 Edition still irritate me. Combine a familiar with Master Tactician and some rogue levels, and you're off to the races.

    First, I don't know what "Master Tactician" is; you are probably referring to "Expert Tactician" which allows you to make an additional attack whenever someone is denied their dex bonus to AC. Since a Rogue also adds sneak attack damage to any attack when the opponent is denied their dex bonus to their AC this is a good combination.

    However flanking does not deny the opponents dex bonus to their AC, so the familiar flanking example you used would not work to give you an extra sneak attack as you suggest. Additionally if your familiar is killed there are harsh penalties. You must make Fortitude save DC 15 or lose 200xp per master level (save for half). You also cannot get another familiar for a year unless you raise dead. Since you will be progressing as a Rogue and not a Wizard or a Sorcerer, your familiar will not increase along with you. By level 6 opponents will simply squash your familiar like a bug, costing you 6750gp each time for a scroll of raise dead.

    AC: Armor Class, how hard you are to hit in combat.
    Dex Bonus: Dexterity is a measure of how nimble a person is, the bonus from this score adds to your AC.
    XP: Experience Points, a measure used to determine the level of your character.
    DC: Difficulty Class, in order to succeed you must roll a twenty sided dice (d20) and add your relevant bonus and get a result equal or higher.
    GP: Gold Pieces.

  • by angst_ridden_hipster ( 23104 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @01:42PM (#8974185) Homepage Journal
    I remember writing a character-generator on my old TRS-80. It didn't fit into 4k, so you had to run it in two stages, loading part II from the cassette (at least if you were an MU or a Cleric, so you could pick your spells).

    Later, when I got an Espon MX-80 printer with the graphics update kit, I was able to create "fonts" (with characters as wide as they wanted to be, so long as they were 8 dots tall) to make the character sheets look better. The last iteration drew little 8-dot-tall swords and skulls horizontally across the top of the page.

    Ah yes, those were the days.

  • by Buran ( 150348 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @01:45PM (#8974218)
    I work in a research lab. We have been studying the herpes virus recently. I was quite amused to find out that it's shaped just like a tiny d20 [lapelle.it]! The shape is quite distinctive in our electron microscopy images. In fact, I showed the principal investigator a photograph of a d20 last week from an RPG web store as a sample of other things with the same shape - he was quite amused and surprised!

    My blog post earlier today, which links to the same Beeb article, was entitled "30 years of playing games with giant herpes viruses" ... I'm just waiting to see what kind of responses I get.
  • by spoonyfork ( 23307 ) <spoonyfork AT gmail DOT com> on Monday April 26, 2004 @01:46PM (#8974229) Journal
    Magic: the Gathering killed my D&D group dead.
  • A family affair (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Quila ( 201335 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @01:54PM (#8974319)
    People talk about D&D as just the kids playing with friends, but sometimes it was a family affair. My grandmother taught my cousin and me D&D in the late 70s when we were both under 10 years old. All of us sitting out in the garage playing late into the summer night are still some of the fondest memories she has of me and my late cousin.

    But man was she a harsh dungeon master.
  • 1st Ed (AD&D) (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nagora ( 177841 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @01:56PM (#8974338)
    The second and third editions did nothing to fix the problems in first edition AD&D (I do have the little brown books but we hardly ever used them). That problem was that most DM's never developed to the point where the rules are left behind. The rules lawyers jumping up and down with moist panties in response to the posting show that this is still the case.

    The "rules" are guidelines like stabilisers on a kid's bike: once you get the hang of role playing you can take them off. In that sense there never was any need for second and thrid edition, although TSR generated that need by producing more and more "Modules for Dummies" that encouraged lazy play by DM's and players alike.


  • by jcayer ( 206087 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @02:06PM (#8974457)
    1. The typical customer is male, unattractive, and socially handicapped
    2. Both are frequently enjoyed in dark basements
    3. The size of your collection is obscene
    4. It's not a good idea to talk about either on a first date
    5. Both revolve around fantasy and obtaining the unobtainable
    6. The artwork depicts images impossible in the real world
    7. When purchasing either in a store, you always ask for a bag
    8. It may be fun to make your own at home, but rarely turns out as good as the professionally produced stuff
    9. If you saw a woman buying either, you'd probably want to ask her out
    10. Extra excitement can be added with the use of props and / or costumes
    11. Low quality versions of both can be found for free on the Internet
    12. Countless Usenet groups are dedicated to both
    13. In either case, a gang of heavily-muscled men in leather with whips spells trouble
    14. Everyone uses a silly, made-up name
    15. It is not uncommon for participants to assume the opposite gender
    16. Both are frowned upon by the conservative right
    17. You usually take interest in both around age 13
    18. New purchases are usually looked at once, then put on the shelf
    19. The best and worst examples of each was produced in the '70s
    20. The German versions of each are the most bizarre
    21. Both are plagued with bad dialogue
    22. You usually spend a lot more time enjoying each alone than with a group of friends
    23. Everyone's called in to work sick at least once to stay home and enjoy one or the other
    24. Both make excellent bathroom reading
    25. There's always a big finish when you get to fire your gun
    26. Hollywood's attempts to mainstream both have been largely unsuccessful
    27. The hero's prized possession is his big, black gun
    28. Plots are often present only to serve the action scenes
    29. The story can be set anywhere from spaceships to dungeons
    30. While the person directing the action is usually blamed for a bad experience, it's usually the fault of poor writing
    31. Characters can have either high APPEARANCE or STAMINA, but rarely both
    32. You can tell the climax is imminent when the characters start screaming
    33. Candles and music enhance the mood
    34. You can meet your favorite B-list stars at the annual convention
    35. One word: Dwarves
  • by Punk Walrus ( 582794 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @02:13PM (#8974541) Journal
    I was one of those kids that came from a bad home, etc etc...I started playing D&D in the mid 1970s with the "Chainmail Supplement," and continued until 1990, probably about 15 years, and part way into the second edition of AD&D. People always stereotype the gamers, and I do it myself in jest, but here's what D&D really gave me:

    • A social life (excuses to have friends and be at their house)
    • A hobby (kept me out of trouble)
    • Statistical analysis (charts and stats)
    • Writing skills (campaigns)
    • Management skills (being a DM)
    • Bartering skills (Then=> "No no, the rules specifically state rust monsters only dissolve ferrous metal!" Now=> "No no, according to this contract, you have to provide us with the on site hardware!")

    It also led me to gaming conventions, where I made lifelong friends who later got me jobs, helped me out of tough times, etc... And yeah, sure, I might have gotten the same thing out of being a Rotary Club member, but I didn't have the grades, and besides, they never give you a +5 dancing vorpal blade to fight that 15d8 monster ... at least, anymore.

    I met Gary Gyagax at Imaginecon 2000, and despite all the stuff said about him over the years, I found him personable and approachable.

    I still have all my D&D stuff. It's worth over $3000 in cover price, but I think in actual current value, maybe $600 (and only because I have some first edition stuff, like the "Deities and Demigods" with Melnebonie and Cthulhu mythos in it). I can't bear to part with it because I feel I owe it so much, it's like an old friend ... in several boxes ... in a closet.

    Man, I felt like Dahmer there, for a second.

    I started gaming when churches actually allowed it in their function rooms, along with the civil war gamers and chess players. Then in the 1980s, they connected the game to some poor sucker who got lost in university tunnels or something, then it got this Satanic cult label, and then it was fun to play it because you were an outsider! Woo hoo!

    I stopped gaming when I got married. I just didn't need it anymore. I now had a steady job, social life, and the game was just too time-consuming. I have run a game or two here and there for old times sake (mainly to show my teen son what it was like). Recently, I was with my son's school group at a Science Olympiad, and a girl there had a bunch of the 3rd Edition rules. I thumbed through them, and thought, "Jesus, this is even more complicated than the Slackware manual! How EVER did I memorize all those rules and terms?" She was just impressed I knew 90% of the monsters.

  • Random Comments (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Slick_Snake ( 693760 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @02:48PM (#8974902) Journal
    I've played role playing games for going on 13 years. I've played every addition of D&D as well as shadow run, Rifts, Heroes Unlimited, Mythus, Twilight 2000, and a few other odd balls. I have found with every game some inherent problems usually the result of an attempt to balance the game after the fact so that everyone is equal. The game has to be designed from the beginning with balance in mind to make it playable.

    All that said I'm working on a new role playing system that will do two things. First make it more flexible and fun to play, and second to make it easy so that once learned you don't need to keep referencing the books over and over. I'm always looking for suggestions including things people have liked or dislike about a game.

    Signed a disgruntled DM/GM

  • Sexist Mumblings (Score:4, Interesting)

    by localman ( 111171 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @03:03PM (#8975050) Homepage
    I remember me and a buddy convinced our girlfriends to play D&D with us a couple times back when we were around 22. Neither of them had played before, but I remember being surprised at how well they took to the the role-playing aspects. In fact the role-playing aspects came so naturally that it didn't seem particularly fun to them. We ended up not playing much.

    If I let myself be a sexist bastard I would say it is because most women tend to role-play in real life a lot more than men; by controlling people's perceptions of them with acting. So most women don't really see the point of setting aside time to put on an act.

    Despite that this seems to work well in practice it sure undermines many of my romantic ideals.

  • by Archfeld ( 6757 ) * <treboreel@live.com> on Monday April 26, 2004 @03:06PM (#8975074) Journal
    years now folks, it was AdvancedD&D because of ownership disputes arising from the original Gygax play group. It is now officially the 'D20 system' and not even a game anymore but a set of leaseable rules.

    The whole mess is tied up in court over ownership between Gary Gygax, David Cook, some original investors in what used to be TSR, who filed a law suit following the sale to WoTC, and Hasbro INC, the newest 'owners'. Hasbro brought in BIG LAWYERS and claimed ownership over EVERYTHING involving D&D, even stuff which was taken from public domain, or history texts. Much of the legal battle involved the Bioware engine and the rights over use of names and such in electronic publishing. The 'NEW' Pools of Radiance game and publishing house did not help to clear matters at all. Spell names and character names in the background that were allowed for use to Gary, or David but never allowed for transfer, Many things involving games used at CONS that were NEVER licensed for commercial use, or things from the old dragon/dungeon mags that were adopted into the game or offered for non-commerical use to GM's were co-opted by WotC or Hasrbo. In some cases the true owners were even legally threatened by either company, and they did not even know the source of the material they were claiming.

    I have been playing since the blue book days and have numerous modules and other minor components published under TSR's aegis, or used at cons or tournaments, and yes I have run many GENCON games as well as RPGA tournaments , that were then 'adopted', used, modified, and then my name was eventually removed totally, while they continue to use the items and spells bearing the characters' name I own and created. It is frustrating and somewhat insulting but I never expected make a profit, I did it for the 'love' of the game. I had an EQ char's last name changed following a report by 'someone', when I am in fact the legal owner. I've had ZERO luck getting the name back as Sony Online Entertainment claims OWNERSHIP of everything that passes a chat screen in EQ.

    Sadly the 3rd ed system is aimed at the video game crowd and rather silly in many places, we speculate jokingly that the authors were obviously playing Diablo2 during the development period of the new system. Our long time gaming group, the Saturday Knights, playing continuously for 20 years now, has adopted the GURPS system and we continue in the same game world we've been playing in for almost the entire time.

    BTW we are always looking for good roleplayers, we are listed on Steve Jackson's find a game/player service or can be reached at the above email, make sure to put a RPG reference in the title or it will likely get de-spam'd. We are located in California, East of SF, meet at least once every 2 weeks for 8+hours sessions, require mature gamers but age is not the primary factor, and have a family environment to play in. Our group consists of several married couples as well as some younger singles. We've tried remote play but have not found any medium which can yet support the needed presence to really make ROLE-PLAYING possible, and We DEMAND roleplaying over stat-playing. A good guideline to our game style is the Char's disadvantages DEFINE them, and EVERY action has long term consequences in game. Uncle Figgie's guide to power gamers is recommended reading, and you should 'KNOW' what type of player you are :)

  • by dcw3 ( 649211 ) on Monday April 26, 2004 @05:32PM (#8976831) Journal
    I was indoctrinated into the world of D&D while getting computer technician training at Keesler AFB, MS back in '77 (made less than $5k income that yr). Some of us spent much of our free time trying to make saving throws. That carried over to my next 2 yrs at Offutt AFB, NE...nothing else worth doing in Neb anyway. I've still got all the books & dice, but haven't played since about '85...went back to college, got married, had a kid, became a responsible adult (YUCK!). Now, nearly 25 yrs later, with a household income nearly 40 times what I made back then, I think I was enjoying life alot more in my D&D days :-(
  • D&D Adventure Camp (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Teancum ( 67324 ) <robert_horning AT netzero DOT net> on Monday April 26, 2004 @05:42PM (#8976965) Homepage Journal
    This is definitely a trip down memory lane.

    I got into D&D as a sidebar to military wargamming, starting with Risk and moving onto several Avalon Hill games (Third Reich, Blitzkrieg, 1776 (I got massacred by my brother at this one), & Squad Leader).

    When I went to the hobby shop to see what other cool games they had, I saw a box for the original Basic Edition of D&D, together with the 1st Edition Monster Manual. The DM Guide was released just a little after that, and trying to get polyhedrial dice was almost impossible. We actually used the old chit system at first to generate our characters becuase we couldn't find any polyhedrial dice at all. When I finally got some dice, the d20 was badly misshapen in manufacturing, and gave some really wild results when used (I wish I still had it now).

    The best fun I had was a week at Boy Scout Camp [twinvalleybsa.org] where we also turned it into a week-long D&D marathon. The logistical planning for this was something that could only be done by a bunch of hard-core D&D players that were also boy scouts. The D&D manuals were smuggled in with the camp kitchen supplies, talked our parents into a week's worth of munchies & pop (with some extra money on the side for buying stuff that wouldn't keep in the cooler for more than a couple of days), and took off to camp looking like a group of real trustworthy, loyal, helpful (etc.) boy scouts our parents thought we were. We also hid miniatures, dice, DM screens, map graphs, and pens & paper (that was more out in the open.. . but in retrospect our parents should have realized that we took too MUCH paper and too MANY pencils with us).

    Our Scoutmaster (actually an assistant who could get the time off from work) was this young guy that looking back now was just totally snowballed by us boy scouts. I was about 16 at the time, and he placed a lot of trust in me as a junior leader. I did what I could, but this adventure took a life of its own that this poor assistant SM couldn't keep under control.

    After about 5 P.M. we would finish up our camping chores every evening and start playing D&D. In addition to the munchies, we brought along 4 gallons of Camp Fuel for the Coleman lanterns we placed under the tarp and played well into the night with the group of about 10 scouts in our troop. My younger brother was the D.M. for this whole affair, but there were several experienced and hard-core players, as well as a few totally new initiates into playing D&D (the kids who were really there to attend Scout Camp for real).

    During the day some of these new initiates would get a chance to read the rule books and get them explained as we were building fires, cooking breakfast or supper, and doing the other camp stuff (like swimming, firing shotguns, making crafts, etc.)

    For this experience, we decided to try out the Gary Gygax module series (Giants & Drow stuff) that we bought (because it was from the grand master... we bought everything from him at the time) but we always seem to put it off doing other stuff when we were normally playing D&D. I didn't realy how awful they were until after we really started to play them, and I knew just what Monty Haul Dungeons really came from.

    The sad part was the aftermath to this whole event. Needless to say our parents were absolutely pissed at us (my dad was the regular Scoutmaster and was unable to attend camp due to some other things that came up in his personal life). Some of the scouts in our troop also failed to complete any merit badges while at camp, and the D&D game was directly blamed for it. (I think we did make up an "unofficial" D&D merit badge for the event, however.) One set of parents totally forbade their kids from ever playing D&D again (the born-again Pat Robertson follower type), which was quite sad. My parents were more of the attitude that neither I nor my brother should "corrupt" the minds of the innocent, but they would rather that we pour our energies into D&D rather than dating or drugs or cars. In that respect D&D was a rather cheap hobby by comparison.

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard