As I’m sure most of us do, I’m thinking deeply about my life during the Thanksgiving holiday. In particular, I’m thinking about my relationship with RPGs. Perhaps my mind is dwelling on this subject because for several weeks now I have not been able to meet with my usual RPG group. So it may be that I’m suffering from withdrawal, and this is making me pine for all things roleplaying. So, here’s what’s on my mind:
I believe that I am prone to fits of RPG assumptions. I think since I returned to table-top RPGs in July 2010, I’ve been focusing on retroclones and other modern recreations of out-of-print versions of Dungeons & Dragons, rather than a re-exploration of the actual Dungeons & Dragons games.
I’ve been assuming that retroclones are the direction I MUST go with regard to my return to gaming. I’ve also been assuming, perhaps in a mostly unconscious way, that retroclones are “superior” to the original D&D versions. This applies in particular to Castles & Crusades, which I’ve allowed myself to believe is “better” than Advanced D&D.
I think I’m moving away from this superiority belief and moving toward deeper and deeper desire to engage in an in-depth study of the Basic/Advanced D&D editions. I’ve been assuming that I know those systems already. I’ve overestimated my understanding of those original rules. I may know the general concepts pretty well, but my knowledge of the finer aspects of D&D is sorely lacking.
I now think my focus on retroclones has been purely a matter of expediency. They are what’s in print and readily available, and they are often more streamlined that the original versions. This, as I’ve mentioned on this blog before, is no doubt due to my current life as a busy adult. When it comes to C&C, there’s also the fact that it makes some changes I like to the Advanced D&D classes, as well as a unified modern mechanic.
Of late, I’ve had a growing urge to study, of all things, Second Edition D&D. In the epilogue to my gamer testimonial, I professed a disdain for that edition. I have to say that this supposed disdain is probably based on a tendency to turn away from a pastime after inundating myself with said pastime. This is especially true when it comes to me and RPGs. I think I just immerse myself so deeply in an activity that I burn myself out.
But this rejection of 2nd Edition AD&D also comes from my weakness for novelty and perhaps a bit of attention deficit disorder. I’m not just talking about Gamer ADD, but just generalized ADD. I think my retroclone focus was based on a tendency I’ve always had to cling to a “newer is better” mentality/habit. I go through phases in life where I cannot focus well on things. But I also labored long under a tendency to assume that prior versions of D&D, or indeed D&D itself, is somehow “childish.” From reading other blogs, I don’t think I’m alone in this. There was a time when I left D&D behind and moved on to RPGs that I thought were more “adult,” such as Amber Diceless RPG and the White Wolf Storyteller games.
I know I’ve been rambling here, but this post is probably more for me to talk things out to myself rather than be a coherent read for others. However I would love to hear feedback from readers. To sum up: I’m going to stop assuming I have a deep understanding of the Basic and Advanced versions of D&D, and actually read up on them. I know I have limited time to do so, but I’m going to make the commitment. I’m also going to rethink my prejudice toward 2nd Edition AD&D and give that system another chance. It is, after all, the version of D&D I played the most besides 1st Edition AD&D.
Wish me luck as I delve into the depths of my RPG motivations!