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Author Topic: precursors to AD&D2  (Read 20366 times)
Rob MacDougall

Posts: 160

« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2003, 09:25:31 PM »

Oh, one other thing:

Quote from: Paul Czege
In every single module published by TSR prior to Dragonlance, the characters were basically the center of the universe. And for all practical purposes, their actions were what the world reacted to. But Dragonlance was the opposite of that. It was a plot that dragged the players along for the ride.

(This relates to the recent discussion of PC-centered worlds in the Failings of Sci-Fi thread too.)

In many ways, yes, the Dragonlance plot "dragged the players along for the ride". On the other hand, the world of Dragonlance was definitely reacting to their actions. A party that successfully completed all the Dragonlance modules "on script" would have: rediscovered the true gods, bringing clerical magic back into the world, free a nation of slaves, saved umpteen cities, gotten the squabbling races of good to join forces, found and returned good dragons to Krynn, risen to command the armies of good and saved the world from the Queen of Darkness. They'll also have become the most famous and powerful heroes on their planet.

I'd argue it's because so much did hinge on their actions that the DL adventures were so scripted. If your PCs went off the beaten path in Keep on the Borderlands or White Plume Mountain, it didn't threaten or alter the game world in any significant way. If two of your PCs turned evil halfway through the Dragonlance saga (which two of mine did), that had serious repurcussions on the rest of the world.

Again, I suspect this is different from the standard Vampire adventure, in which the PCs are really insulated from affecting the world in any important way by a lot of more powerful NPCs. And I think the kind of railroading the DL adventures exemplified was often more GM-controlling than player-controlling.

Christopher Kubasik

Posts: 1153

« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2003, 09:48:51 PM »

Hi Rob,

It won't die simply because I wanted to thank you for your post.  I never touched the DL modules (I never touched a module, really), so your summary helped me understand the context of this thread.

Also, your comments on the shift in art were really interesting.  Not only because I think you nailed correctly TSR's success in this strategy, but it reminded me how much I didn't like the "Rockwell" fantasy art.  Thus, another reason not to look back at AD&D.

A note that ties into this thread: Over at RPG.net a thread called, "Why is D&D so Hellishly Popular" ( http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?s=&threadid=30154 ) has drawn the attention of a poster named Abaryx (sp?).  He played, and plays, AD&D exactly as written.  On a board full of people who read all those threads, no one has yet arrived to say, "Yeah, we did that too."  It seems that though folks like Rob and the Big A did cleave to the rules as written, it really was an exception.

And, I have to add, it's really rather awesome to read A's breakdown of a AD&D combat round.  He's black belt of a school with maybe ten members, but damn, he knows his stuff.


"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
Maurice Forrester

Posts: 73

« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2003, 04:55:55 AM »

Quote from: Rob MacDougall

would you say that you were "pushed" out of AD&D by changes in the game's direction, or were you drifting / growing away from the game anyway regardless?

In my case, I was definitely drifting away.  I had discovered D&D in 1978 and gamed with a group that had been playing for a few years.  In fact, I remember one guy telling me that even though they were using the AD&D Players Handbook, we were actually playing original D&D.  I still don't know what that meant.

I started buying other games right away.  And, of course, tried to right my own rules.  By 1982, I was the primary GM.  Although I kept buying new games, I had settled on a couple of favorites:  "Swordbearer" by Dennis Sustare for fantasy and BRP for everything else.  I bought "Unearthed Arcana" when it came out to see where AD&D was going, but I never actually used it in a game and I didn't buy a new D&D book until 3rd edition.

The group I started playing with was around my age or a bit older (I'm 42, born in 1959) and they were all experienced wargamers.  The group expanded in the early 80s to add some high school students and a few of the wargamers drifted away.  By the time I became the primary GM, I had stopped playing with the younger guys and settled on a core group of a couple of the old guard and a couple of new people who were around my age.  I'm sure that limited my exposure to what was happening in the AD&D world, since the players were happy to play pretty much whatever I ran.  

I kept up with what was happening in the gaming world through stuff like "Different Worlds" and A&E, but I didn't have much direct contact with anyone outside my small group of gamers in a small town in Pennsylvania.  I have the impression that a lot of gaming groups were isolated in that way and maybe still are.

Maurice Forrester
Jack Spencer Jr
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2003, 08:04:09 AM »

Quote from: Rob MacDougall
Hope that wasn’t a thread-killer.

If that wasn't this may be:
I, personally, had never, ever played AD&D in my entire life. I had gotten a red box @ 1983. I had played a little bit then but I never played in a regular session until 1994. The group I joined at that point had already bought into the TSR backlash that had been around at that time, and I bought into the group mind for a while. I guess this makes me something of a late bloomer. I'm not sure where this fits in with all of this, but if it does, here it is.

Posts: 1557

« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2003, 01:47:48 PM »

I'm not sure whether this goes in this thread or the parent, but I think it goes here.  This is very anecdotal; my point is to provide a perspective on what gaming looked like if you (1) started with OAD&D, (2) were about 9 at the time, and (3) had no access to established gaming groups; the oral culture in question was other 9 and 10 year-olds, and not many of them, and was bolstered by intensive reading of the manuals themselves.

I'm a bit younger than most who have posted (born 1970), so when I first heard of D&D, it was just when OAD&D had just hit the shelves.  I got it (MM, PH, DMG) because a couple of friends had it, and thought it was cool.  I never actually played with them much, though, because they decided it wasn't cool within about two months.  Meanwhile, my brother had also heard it was cool.

As children in the 'burbs, my brother and I lacked access to the gaming culture; it would never have occurred to us to ask Mom if we could go to Origins or something like that.  We acquired the odd Dragon Magazine here and there, but couldn't subscribe.  My brother and I played pretty regularly, where I would play five or six characters (we knew you were supposed to have a "party") and he would DM.  When my brother decided (around age 14 or so (he's two years older than me)) that D&D was stupid, I was left to do this all alone.  The last time my brother gave it a shot, he'd heard that the "right" way to play was with miniatures, so he bought some.  He'd also heard that you had to paint them, which he did, badly.  I still have them somewhere.

As far as I understood it, and this was also my brother's understanding, there were three kinds of D&D, in a graduated series of "rightness."

1. Playing at home, maybe with a friend or two, and "running through" modules.  This was kids' D&D.  You could design new characters for this purpose; for example, if you had just acquired a module for levels 5-7, you could roll up a group of level 5 characters.  You usually played more than one character at a time, because otherwise you'd just get murdered by the module.  We recognized that this practice was a bow to necessity, and not quite kosher.

2. Playing in a local group.  The players here were presumed to be approximately late teens through, say, mid-twenties.  You were supposed to stick to one character, who had to start at level 1, and the object of the game was to have that character be the most powerful and get all the magic items.  If you joined the group late, you were shafted, because you'd have to play the Illusionist or some other wimpy-ass class.  I very briefly had contact with such a group, not seriously hoping I could join (I was only 12) but wanting to be a hanger-on.  My clear memory of this encounter was that I sat on the sidelines, then when things got boring started re-reading my own copy of the DMG; at that point one player whirled around and said, "You can't read that!  It's DM's only!  God, you're stupid!"  So I also learned that this type of gaming made all manuals except the Player's Handbook secret, which I hadn't ever known before.  I decided I'd better work on being a DM, since I'd read more or less everything.

3. "Real D&D," i.e. conventions and tournaments.  I never saw this, but I read about it in the Dragon and so forth.  I had no idea how this worked, apart from a couple of "tournament" modules.

I stopped buying the books when I was about 16, because everyone I knew told me that D&D was something only geeks and nerds did.

In all this time, reading, playing, whatever, the following things did not EVER come across my field of vision:

1. Playing a character as a person, particularly the idea of immersion.
2. Characters being "for" anything except getting stuff through killing monsters.
3. Other options in gaming, except for Boot Hill and Top Secret.  I believed that these were just D&D in different clothes, and so read Top Secret as mainly about agents machine-gunning other agents.
4. Dungeons, worlds, towns, etc. as having internal logic related to the real world.  For example, it never occurred to me to ask why all these monsters stayed in the rooms they were assigned to.

Hope this is in some vague way useful.

Chris Lehrich

Posts: 1557

« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2003, 02:21:18 PM »

Er, sorry.  Couple other brief (I promise!) points.

In my numerous very brief encounters with people who actually played AD&D in groups, and from the general sense of the oral culture that I had (this is up until I was about 16):

1. I never, ever encountered a female player.  I never heard of one.  Even when I was 9 (1979) I remember that the girls thought D&D was dumb.

2. "Everybody knew" that certain rules weren't actually used by any actual player.  The rules that "nobody actually used" included:
- Spell components
- Alignments actually making any difference to behavior
- Detailed encumbrance
- Level maxima for non-humans
Actually it's been quite fascinating to me recently, to hear that some people actually took alignment seriously.  I thought everybody knew that unless it was strictly forbidden for a character type, you were best off being Neutral Evil, because then you could do anything you wanted and it didn't matter anyway. :)

Chris Lehrich
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Posts: 16490

« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2003, 04:39:39 PM »

Hi Chris,

All of your input is really useful, actually. One thing I'd forgotten that I'd wanted to address were the rules that no one used. I agree with all of the ones you identified, as well as the weapon/armor to-hit modifications.

Oh, and just to be absolutely clear to those whose introductory experiences were more mid-80s: the term "thac0" was entirely unknown to this earlier culture, at least as I remember.

Rob MacDougall

Posts: 160

« Reply #22 on: February 01, 2003, 04:53:29 PM »

Oh, and just to be absolutely clear to those whose introductory experiences were more mid-80s: the term "thac0" was entirely unknown to this earlier culture, at least as I remember.

Yes. I think the first appearance of THAC0 (To Hit Armor Class Zero) was in the adventure module I3. Pharoah. At least that's the first place I saw it. Not a rule as such, just a writing convention, but one that did indeed become a dividing line of sorts between different "generations" of AD&D players.

Chris' comments on alignment inspire another random recollection: the Dragonlance Adventures hardback, published 1988 or so, offered a new system for alignment. It dropped the Law-Chaos axis, moving only to a Good-Evil axis, and it introduced a track on which the players alignments would move, based on their actions. So instead of restricting player behaviour, it simply tracked it. (Although, there were penalties for moving into the gray areas between Good, Neutral, and Evil, but not for actually being Good, Neutral or Evil.) As far as I know, no later AD&D publications ever held onto this or followed up on this system at all.


Christopher Kubasik

Posts: 1153

« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2003, 01:04:37 AM »

We used alignment in our group.

And we had a 40-60 split for girls to guys.


"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
M. J. Young

Posts: 2198

« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2003, 12:02:28 AM »

I was just about to respond to this last night when the site went down; now I'm not at all sure I remember everything I had in mind to say, but I did want to respond to this:

Quote from: clehrich
2. "Everybody knew" that certain rules weren't actually used by any actual player.  The rules that "nobody actually used" included:
- Spell components
- Alignments actually making any difference to behavior
- Detailed encumbrance
- Level maxima for non-humans

We used all of those. We were a bit weak on spell components sometimes, in the sense that if it wasn't a major item (like a gem or something) the magic users just periodically bought "spell components" and were assumed to have the little garbage (bitumen, whatever). If a component was pricey, it was measured.

I did encumbrance by hand for a long time. I do it on spreadsheets today. I don't keep that tight an eye on it during play (you don't get credited for each arrow you shoot), but every player knows that he can only carry so much treasure out on one trip.

Alignments were vitally important in play. We had many discussions and debates about what was appropriate for a character. I had a neutral good cleric torture and kill three NPCs based on little more than suspicion that they might have been responsible for the attempted murder of a public official. He did not get a confession or any evidence to support his beliefs, but he did get slapped pretty hard for the alignment problem. More than once it was repeated in our group: it is not sufficient for good to oppose evil; it must do so while remaining good.

Non-human level limits were important for play balance because of multiclassing. A dual-classed character, thanks to the exponential progression table, was within one level behind a single-classed character most of the time, and that made the multiclassing option very powerful. Limits on progression were an important counter to prevent these from dominating play.

I played with people who didn't have level limits, and this is one of the things that snapped my disbelief suspenders: if elves, dwarfs, gnomes, and even halflings all live so much longer than humans, why aren't the older elves, particularly, dominating the world? There should be level three hundred fighters and wizards out there in the elf world, and similarly powerful dwarfs and such, merely for the time they have to reach those levels. It's inconsistent to have beings with such longevity and extended youthfulness and yet not have them reach ungodly levels, unless there's some other reason to prevent it. Level limits didn't have a good pseudo-rational explanation, but it balanced the world to favor humans.

Quote from: He further
I thought everybody knew that unless it was strictly forbidden for a character type, you were best off being Neutral Evil, because then you could do anything you wanted and it didn't matter anyway. :)

Not true; neutral evil is a very demanding alignment. You can't be trustworthy and you can't trust, and if I catch you doing either you're in trouble. Evil parties destroy themselves if they're played right. I've seen them played right. Members of one group that played over many years, not ours, independently told me, the closer you get to home, the less anyone sleeps, and the fewer characters are left alive--because in the end, only one of us will get home with the treasure. That your group thought this indicates a failure in refereeing, in my estimation. But then, you were kids, so I guess that's excused. ;)

Quote from: Then Ron
I agree with all of the ones you identified, as well as the weapon/armor to-hit modifications.

I've disagreed with all the others, but this one we never used. I couldn't even really figure out how to use them. I did give them serious consideration once when one player, who knew a heck of a lot more about weaponry than I, said that the long sword versus battle axe damage was inappropriate. The mods didn't solve this (I thought they might give a hit advantage to the axe, but they didn't), so I didn't use them.

I'm given to understand that this is the one rule Gary Gygax didn't use, either.

Quote from: Rob MacDougal
Chris' comments on alignment inspire another random recollection: the Dragonlance Adventures hardback, published 1988 or so, offered a new system for alignment. It dropped the Law-Chaos axis, moving only to a Good-Evil axis, and it introduced a track on which the players alignments would move, based on their actions.

Dragonlance did not eliminate the ethical axis; it did seriously deemphasize it. All the gods and creatures in the book have standard dual-axis alignments. It is stated that the moral axis alignment has to be specified and tracked; it does not explain what happens with the ethical axis alignment, but it doesn't say it's not used.

Neutrality in Krynn is heavily chaotic, however; it is difficult to play lawful neutral in that setting.

This is also the first place I remember seeing in print the use of the term "moral axis" for the good/evil side of alignment; I don't think I ever saw "ethical axis" in print, but it was the phrase people used by the early 90's.

--M. J. Young


Posts: 675

« Reply #25 on: February 03, 2003, 12:41:19 AM »

ok, I'll add my own information, avoiding as much as possible a mere anecdotal description of "how I played" while concetrating on "game culture" issues and dissemination of play techniques.

I've played D&D several different ways. I fall into the same group as Ron and some of the others (I was born in '63) and in fact was living in Rantoul, Illinois when I was first exposed to D&D, so I guess that puts me in old school north central dungeon-belt territory, but with a twist. I first encountered D&D in about '75, courtesy of a friend who learned to play in junior high. yes, as part of a class. the teacher used the original 3 books, but changed Wisdom to Piety and created a spell-point mechanic for magic-users (MUs had "magical conductivity" points and each spell level had a dice range for how many points it cost to cast.)

the method of play my friend taught me was standard dungeon crawl with an occasional tavern scene/city gate scene/market scene/etc. for color. the twist that I mentioned was that I never saw the d&d books themselves for about two years, but played and DMed based on hand-typed copies of the charts the original teacher had mimeographed. I didn't even have actual monster descriptions, just the list of monster names/treasure types/% in lair (I had some really interesting interpretations of what "staff elementals" were, since all I had to go on was the phrase itself...) no spell descriptions, so range didn't really matter, nor did duration. when I took turns DMing in two-player games with another friend, we just made stuff up based on what we'd been taught and what we could decipher from those charts.

after I moved (to Oklahoma,) I later got the basic D&D (blue dragon) set and eventually the AD&D PHB. I still had a couple of my hand-typed charts that survived the move (I still have the first saving throw table, stuck into the back of a plastic book protector I put on the blue dragon book.) I taught some new people to play D&D, more or less correctly -- blue-dragon D&D expanded with what I could glean from the PHB and my charts. I did use encumberance and spell components, but didn't use armor adjustments by weapon type or weapon speed factors.

another move, this time to a small city near Sacramento... I meet up with someone who had played D&D and Arduin Grimoire. we acquire the 3-book original and the suppliments, but we also pick up the three AD&D books. we're pretty much playing straight AD&D, but I still have a distaste for insane combat detail, so no speed factors/armor adjustments. I think we tried to use the grapple rules from the DMG once. we did use psionics, though. funny how that worked out. we occasionally suppliment AD&D materials with old D&D materials, though.

soon, though, I found TFT, and I mostly DMed that, adding more story elements (but still as color, not as metaplot,) with my friend taking over the AD&D DMing. eventually, I found SJGames Man-to-Man and the boxed GURPS set and moved to that system, plus some attempts at homebrew systems. since I wasn't doing much Gamist stuff at that point, the rest of my game experience wouldn't be useful to the Gamist essay.

to summarize this in a more useful form:

    [*]I started with a third-hand modified original D&D, very standard dungeon crawl but by necessity pretty free-form with the rules;
    [*]I progressed to original D&D as written, adding elements from AD&D one at a time, until I was playing AD&D minus a couple rules with high-handling time;
    [*]I moved first to Gamist play with a lower handling time, then to more Simulationist play.

    I never transitioned into Dragonlance or Forgotten Realms because I mostly interpretted them as being adaptations of the novels TSR was publishing -- and I looked at the books and said to myself "Tolkien rip-off". this might not be true, but it was my impression at the time; the point is, I avoided metaplot entirely, but for non-game-related reasons.

    John Laviolette
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    Mike Holmes
    Acts of Evil Playtesters

    Posts: 10459

    « Reply #26 on: February 03, 2003, 10:14:37 PM »

    Ooh, I like telling this story.

    So, there I was, all of, what, eight years old in 1976. I liked games from my earliest memories, and had invented quite a few by that age. My father, at that time a Captain in the Army National Guard (who would later progress to the rank of General), would bring home all sorts of military maps and vehicle identification cards. Inevitably I created a game out of the discarded ones that I would play with my brother who was a year younger and was my constant test subject. My father, noting this, decided to purchase Panzerblitz for me.

    Any of you grognards know what that is? It's not the most complicated wargame ever created. But neither is it the simplest. It took all my mental might at eight years old to learn it. I then started hanging out with a friend from school named Jon who was my age, but already at the time was playing games of D-Day on his front porch. We played games like they were going out of style. This same year I read both the Chronicles of Narnia, and, after consuming them in no time, LoTR.

    So, when my cousin Tim from California, a couple of years older than me, showed up with a game called Kingmaker that year, I was all over it. Still one of my favorite games (you can catch me at the Cons playing the big painted set). Anyhow, he noted my fondness for such games.

    So, on his next trip back to Wisconsin, my brother and I are playing some naval combat game (carrier war?) in which you maneuver little aircraft carriers with little plastic planes on them about a map composed of hexes. Just nothing but blue hexes. Tim sees us playing and says, "You want to play a game called Death Test?" Noting that the uniform hexmap will be perfect.

    Three days later, Tim had left, and my life was permenantly changed in a most serious way. I had played my first RPG. As some may recall, a supplement for Melee and Wizard had been put out called Death Test. My cousin Tim had made up a similar scenario for us to play and used the Melee/Wizard rules as he remembered them. Before he left, he also told us that the "real" game to play was called Dungeons and Dragons.

    Yes, here I was just 45 minutes from Gygax's house, and I learned to play RPGs from a Californian in 1977.

    So, of course, as soon as I could afford it (and lord knows where a nine year old got the money from), I bought a set of Basic (Blue Book) D&D. And tried to figure out how to play with my wargamer friends. Now, it took us a year of playing most every night. But by the end I think we had it mostly sorted out.

    But the news was soon on the horizon: an new version called "Advanced" D&D was coming out. Well, I just had to have that. So I went to the store, and bought this white box that looked somewhat less finished than the edition I already owned. I read the books, but, to this day, I have no idea what Blackmoor, Eldrich Wizardry, etc, were about. I realized that I'd bought the wrong thing, and put them in a corner never to be used again.

    We finally bought the AD&D books as they came out and played the bejeezus out of that game. Ask Jon if you see him about Arthur Murffles (III) Furbisher (name provided in part by a Judges guild supplement), his ranger character that eventually conquered every published module until 1982.

    That year, something happened. I realized two things. First, there were other ways to play D&D than just dungeon crawling hack and slash. And second, TFT (which I picked up as an adjunct to Melee and Wizardry), despite having not nearly the production values, still somehow managed to be a better system. As I used to say, "It actually HAS a combat system, as opposed to D&D which has nothing so rigorous."

    Worse, we'd started "fixing" D&D. We had a ton of house rules. I mean a ton. Lots of Dragon articles (my friend Jim was a subscriber from issue 1 and still has his copy in pristine condition; I subscribed from 23 to 115 or so), and just lots of stuff that we thought was common sense, etc, all kept building and building. After about two years of this, I had several stacks of paper in my room all about two feet tall. Literally. One day it dawned on me:

    I have more notes than there is text for all D&D products. If I'd been thinking ahead, I could have written my own complete game by now.

    What's worse, there was no end in sight. I'm not sure what cosmic force causes this fact to be true, but you can fix AD&D till doomsday and still have more to do. I was disenchanted with play, and realized that D&D was never going to give me what I wanted.

    But a horrible thought occured to me. My players would never let me stop GMing as long as I owned the materials, and had the notes.

    So, it was a nice October day in 1982 that I took all my D&D materials, and reams of looseleaf with notes on it, piles of quadrille, and anything else I could find, and had a nice little bonfire in my backyard. Didn't burn the Dragons, perhaps because they contained info on other games (like "Food Fight" in iss. 42!). But everything else went. Yes, that includes the white box D&D, and my "illegal" version of Dieties and Demigods. Had I only known they'd be collector items....

    Do you suppose that it had anything to do with the fact that I'd fallen in love with the music of Rush, who released their Signals album that year with the song Subdivisions?

    Any escape might help to sooth the unattractive truth,
    but the suburbs have no charms to smooth the restless dreams of youth.

    My subdivision was called Hyde Park. I bet yours was, too. Hey, what can I say, I was thirteen and had already had a classic midlife existential crisis. Something had to break.

    Anyway, I swore I'd never play D&D again in any form. An oath I've broken twice in twenty years. I also swore that I wouldn't let art and production values ever sway my opinion about a game's design.

    Sorry this took so long to get to the point. I was out of D&D before second edition was even on the horizon. And it was because of GNS preference, and the fact that even the first games that were produced after D&D improved on it dramatically. TFT, Traveller (which we also played he bejeezus out of), Villains and Vigilantes, even Gamma World (and especially Metamorphosis Alpha) and Top Secret (Boot Hill, OTOH, was even worse than D&D). All before I was fifteen years old. Didn't even have to be wise to know D&D was not what I wanted.

    I'm very much of the opinion that the universality of play style that occured in AD&D2 is due to only hardore Gamists hanging on to D&D until that time. Most everyone else was gone by that time. The remainig Gamists taught any newcomers, and the rest is history.


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    Paul Czege
    Acts of Evil Playtesters

    Posts: 2341

    « Reply #27 on: February 11, 2003, 10:52:07 AM »

    Hey Rob,

    Before this thread gets old, I just wanted to say thanks for your great and definitive post about Dragonlance. You made me realize how spotty my own recollections are, and actually prompted me to phone my friend who ran the modules when I played them. Though I recalled the group skipping some modules, and not making a concerted effort to play them in order, he insists he ran the first seven or eight, and in order. So, I'm now trusting your account, rather than my own remembrances. (Look folks, actual mental scarring!) He does acknowledge that I only played through three or four of them, which since you've said the middle ones were the most railroaded, maybe somewhat accounts for why I have them all pretty tightly railroaded in my memory.

    I do have another contender for the first metaplot-driven AD&D scenarios, but I'll get to them later.

    Did I miss this? Perhaps a new thread?


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    Gordon C. Landis

    Posts: 1024

    I am Custom-Built Games

    « Reply #28 on: February 11, 2003, 12:13:04 PM »

    And as long as we're keeping the thread alive . . .

    Thinking about this time-frame in D&D history, I'm wondering if metaplot/Dragonlance exists as a reaction to the Gamist/tournament approach that was begining to take hold?  Like D&D went from early "Wow!  You can do anything!" to "This is too messy - let's do RPGA events and get some control" to "Man, that control thing leaves out a lot of what was so neat about the early days - let's find a way to add it back in.  How about - a scripted series of modules!"

    Just a thought I've been meaning to find a place to express,


    www.snap-game.com (under construction)

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    « Reply #29 on: February 11, 2003, 08:56:24 PM »

    Hey all,

    I fall into the 'secend generation of gamers', i guess. I started playing D&D when i was about 9 (in grade 4), but had heard of it earlier i suppose, since i saw the book at a the library and borrowed it for months on end.

    I didn't actually play until about a year or so later, when i moved half way across the country and the next door neighbor kid (a year older) had the 1e set wth the 'new' covers up to MM2. We didn't have any modules, and just made stuff up as we went along. We played like mad, and i continued to play until i was through junior high. I guess you could call the style we played very Gamist, but it was good times. In the last year of junior high we played Star Frontiers, Robotech and Gamma World. This spelled the beginning of the end of D&D.

    I GMed pretty much from the second week i ever played a game. Firstly, because i knew the rules better than the others, and later, because i had more experience and creativity than the others, in addition to the dedication to putting the game together. GMing is hard work.

    I went through so many games during high school. We were playing a new one every couple of months. When 2ed AD&D was released, we rejoiced, and the game resurged in my group. It quickly fell again, as i discovered WFRP, and fell in love with the setting and combat system.

    Remember, this was the time when games were for the biggest geeks and losers around. I think back now, and even the gamers had a pecking order....

    At about 16-17, I was far beyond tired of playing level based games with restrictive classes, bags of hit points and walking spellbooks, and was trying to introduce a more characterful, story oriented way of playing to my games. I was maturing as a GM, and i wanted more Narrativism and Simulation. More ROLE playing. Nothing was filling this need, since my group were still motivated by vast amounts of treasure and shiny-shinies.

    Once high school ended (91-92), we played CoC and then the Vampire game came to our notice.

    Storyteller, more than anything, killed my desire to play. Or, rather, the people who played Storyteller games.

    I would talk to other gamers, and they started looking down on anyone who didn't play 'story oriented' games, games that didn't involve angst, depression or drinking blood. The games themselves seemed to convey a 'this is how role playing games are SUPPOSED to be. If you DON'T play like this, then you, are a loser. A gigantic loser, because gamers are already losers.'

    Ten years passed, with a half hearted stab at Mage, the Undermountain campaign and WFRP again most recently, last year.

    I spent a few years playing Magic: the Gathering, then gave that up. Moved into wargames like Warhammer and WH40K.

    So why am I at The Forge?

    I have found a game that has rekindled my desire to play: TROS.

    That's my history and zsimple overview of the history of roleplaying.

    On Dragonlance: i played through the first 3 adventures, but that gigantic map of the dwarven city just daunted me. I had gotten the next batch of modules, and they seemed disjointed and railroading was the norm. I quit Dragonlance, but not AD&D.

    I posit three generations of gamers: the old guard, the ones who were playing OD&D in their teens, the ones who hit it when AD&D was released, and the Storyteller generation.

    This may tie in with the GNS model, actually.

    The original games were very Gamist, (late 70's to early mid 80's) then Simulationism came in (until the early 90's), and finally Narrativism (Vampire and after).

    Has this been discussed at all (most likely)?
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