Friday, February 28, 2014

[The D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge] Day 15 - 28

Day 15: What was the first edition you didn't enjoy. Why?

Disliked 4E, 'nuff said. Not for the rules, because I never played the game. I abstained from the game on principle of the foolish mega-RSE* they implemented for the Forgotten Realms. Some backwards ape-thinking went into the decision making there, and I say that with the risk of insulting apes everywhere. Apologies my primate brethren.

* RSE: Realms Shaking Event or Realms Shaking Event. Yes, this is an official acronym (actually an initialism) now eve adopted into official WotC blog posts by their designers. When that happens, you know there's too much company interjection of meta-plot into a property.

Day 16: Do you remember your first edition war? Did you win? ;)

I was around the game just in time for the 2E vs. 3E edition war. There was an edition war? Indeed.

Highlights include one 3E proselytizer who wanted to convert over, saying WotC hired mathematicians to balance the game mechanics. Right. Even if it were true, didn't help any. Not a knock on the 3E line, there's wonky stuff in each edition. I hung around the Planet ADnD forums at the time. Some of the old guard refused to switch from AD&D and made it known day in, day out. It was all good training for the 4E edition war, which made all edition wars before it look like a border skirmish. Ah, I love the sound of nerd-rage in the morning.

As for myself, I fell in the middle, stuck with 2E for a bit, not for holding the line, but because I hadn't purchased the 3E books yet. I've played in a mix of games over the last decade and change. No one really won that one, 3E is going strong, doubly so given Pathfinder. While 2E isn't a mainstay, there's enough overlap with the OSR to keep it going.

Day 17: First time you heard D&D was somehow "evil."

The internets. The "D&D is satan" reaction, fortunately, happened before my time and beyond my region (as far as I know).

Heard talk about going after Magic playing in schools, but it was due to distraction from academic work (which would be the true crime if this were a real reason to ban games) or some issues of trading (aka gambling) with cards. Nothing came of it at my school.

The same think happened to Pokemon, but you know those electric squirrel-monsters were up to no good.

Day 18: First gaming convention you ever attended.

Does I-Con count? Probably not. I did game with friends there, well, at their house. Come to think of it, we should do that more often, genre convention or not, but the band split into the surrounding states. Nowadays, the web provides the solution. Not the same, but good enough and has its own advantages.

Day 19: First gamer who just annoyed the hell out of you.

In a long running L5R d20 PBeM game, one day a player (a good roleplayer too) brought up an OOC (Out of Character) commentary about how my character's name was ridiculous and he was going to interpret the kanji with a more fitting meaning. This initiated an echo chamber of fellow Nipponophiles 'hai'ing each other. Now I'm not remotely competent in Japanese, but I figured enough out at the time to know the name was silly.

Guess what? It was a code name my character used to stay incognito. He had a real more mundane, more realistic name he kept unmentioned to his party. The game never progressed enough for the big reveal. Fuck those guys.

I guess now I know how folks feel about Realms know-it-alls, but still doesn't excuse the criticism of the setting. Asshats have the potential to infest all games and setting.

Day 20: First non-D&D RPG you played.

Freeform. On another wavelength than D&D so we'll leave it at that.

Day 21: First time you sold some of your D&D books--for whatever reason.

Duplicates sold because I picked up a copy in better condition, probably from buying auction lots and collections of gaming junk.

Day 22: First D&D-based novel you ever read (Dragonlance Trilogy, Realms novels, etc.)

The Dragonlance Chronicles Trilogy (which started the franchise), the Dragonlance Legends Trilogy (follow up featuring the Majere brothers and time travel), and the Dark Elf Trilogy of Forgotten Realms (featuring that Drow ranger guy) formed a cauldron of fantasy slurry consumed at a ravenous pace. They were enjoyable enough.

Day 23: First song that comes to mind that you associate with D&D. Why?

Nothing comes to mind, suppose that tells you something ... or something else.

There's music I think fits the bill. There's music reminiscent of the emotions, pains and victories, of characters in the game, or pieces that capture the fun and excitement of playing to a sufficient degree. Yet nothing screams "D&D" to me, only the moments and themes experienced playing the game and those vary widely enough. I guess D&D is bigger than one song. It has to be encompassing in order to be what it is.

Day 24: First movie that comes to mind that you associate with D&D. Why?

Record of the Lodoss War. To this day remains more D&D than the D&D movies and most other franchises purported to have that D&D aesthetic. For all the harping about cliche stories of knights and dragons, there aren't too many movies with those elements in them, even prior to the Lord of the Rings. Movies with a D&D-like group of adventurers set up remain rare. The sword and sorcery movies from the 70s and 80s often focus on a singular hero and don't quite have the same vibe.

Day 25: Longest running campaign/gaming group you've been in.

Not counting freeform ... Two Realms games and the above mentioned L5R d20 game. Only the Realms game remains, though the game in the homebrew is still technically around in some form just not active.

Day 26: Do you still game with the people who introduced you to the hobby?

Seeing as I introduced my group to the hobby and we learned as we went, I suppose I still game with me. Dude's a loser though, but don't tell him that. We just put up with him to be nice.

Day 27: If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything different when you first started gaming?

Probably would have gotten a better start, maybe attend a game run by more experienced players to get a better flow of things. When we started, we only had three people who wanted to play, meaning it was a DM with a party of two. Should have tried inviting more people to at least make it a 3-4 person dynamic. Towards college and the rare games we had while going to non-gaming, yet still geeky conventions, we played short sessions with around six players. Those were a blast. More like that.

Day 28: What is the single most important lesson you've learned from playing Dungeons & Dragons?

Whether edition wars or system schism, old school credentials versus new school innovation, dungeon crawls in sandbox campaigns versus role-play-heavy story-gaming, or whatever topic has seized the energy of online discourse, enjoy the game. Not so much a lesson as a wish for all to have fun.

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