Monday, September 20, 2010

When I Imagine D&D... (And What It Felt Like)

I know I'm several days late on this meme, but my first thought of D&D is always this:

That was my first real intro to D&D, and I still regard as the great single-volume RPG rules compilation ever published.  And I will (rubber) knife fight you over it.

Nowadays, the term "D&D" brings a couple of other games to mind, as well:

D&D's gone beyond one company or edition. We're way past that now, I think. It's an interchangable terms not just for AD&D 1e or D&D 4e, but for Pathfinder, Swords & Wizardry, Castles & Crusades, or other spinoffs, retro-clones, and cousins.  Each of these is Dungeons & Dragons to someone!

What did my games feel like back in the day?  Some of you may not get this, but it was a lot like this:

I'm betting many of your games, did, too, whether you know it or not.  A somewhat unwieldy, comfortable, intermittently brilliant, familiar, not-too-balanced, cobbling of rules.  It's here, for those that want a closer look.

(EDIT: Had some image link issues.  Whoops--should be fixed).


Sean said...

Hey, Zak

That first pic is just a copyright violation notice from Troll & Toad.

Aaron said...

Back in the Day, I ran the Great Clone Game. It used Bard Games The Arcanum as the base rules set, with stuff thrown in from Palladium, Shades of Fantasy and one other game, the title of which always escapes me now.

Part of the reason for dumping so much stuff into a pot was to always be able to come up with something new. Most of my players were veterans of Dungeons and Dragons, and if it was in the Monster Manual, they knew it cold.

But it never felt like D&D to me. I think partially because I understood the books I was using to be imitators and partially because the whole idea behind the Great Clone Game was to get away from some of the issues that we had with D&D.

Havard: said...

Gotta love the Rules Cyclopedia :)

clash bowley said...

Unfortunately, I think of this:

Not D&D's fault, but true.

mahjong titans said...

These pics are really nice,

I love these movies.

Jim said...

Hey, Zak-

Great post. I actually think of Palladium because that's what I ran. I started with Red Box DnD when I was the only kid that knew anything about role playing. My parents bought it for me. But then we moved across town and the group of friends I made already played ADnD and didn't want to play with my basic set.

So I stumbled across Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and then picked up Palladium Fantasy RPG as well. It was a rules mishmash, but we loved playing it. I tried to find my old books at my parent's house, but I think my younger brother appropriated them after I left and then lost them.

Playing Palladium when everyone else played (A)DnD made me comfortable with more "independent" systems and opened our group up to all manner of interesting experiences including Call of Cthulhu, Paranoia, GURPS, Champions, Traveler and Middle Earth Role Playing (Rolemaster), etc.

Today as I'm getting back into RPGs after a long absence, my experience with all those "other" systems from the mid to late 80s is pushing me towards Pathfinder (the closest to DnD), Spirit of the Century, Shadow, Sword & Spell, Diaspora and Mouse Guard and I am happy for that.