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Celebrating Dungeons & Dragons' 40th Anniversary

samzenpus posted 1 year,7 days | from the roll-a-d20 dept.

Entertainment 218

disconj writes "With the 40th anniversary of the release of Dungeons & Dragons coming up this weekend, the Internet is ablaze with reflections on its legacy. Dave Ewalt gives an intro for the uninitiated. Ethan Gilsdorf explains how 'all I need to know about life I learned from Dungeons & Dragons'. Finally, Jon Peterson presents a video show-and-tell of rare artifacts from D&D's development." The real question is how many characters have you lost in Tomb of Horrors?

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and beanie babies and whatever (-1, Troll)

turkeydance (1266624) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042651)

all i need to know about life i learned from the Koran. pick one. D&D was...was......

Re:and beanie babies and whatever (2)

rmdingler (1955220) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042725)

was... obviously just a ploy to pick up chicks.

Re:and beanie babies and whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46043613)

Call bullshit on this if you want to, but I was DM of an ongoing campaign party that consisted of 4 "chicks" and 3 guys.
And they were not just WAGs, but real players that kicked butt.

Roll... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46042653)

I just rolled for initiative!

Re:Roll... (1, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042681)

My magic die of irrationality came up pi.

Re:Roll... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46042733)

The incredible die of NIGGER is even better.

Re:Roll... (4, Funny)

gman003 (1693318) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042897)

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what a human of intelligence 4 looks like.

Re:Roll... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46042965)

Humans who claim NIGGER level 4 are of intelligence 10. Nigger Intelligence 4 will beat you the fuck out. Hahahaha dumb Goyim. -- Ethanol-fueleed. The real ethanol fueleed.

Re:Roll... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46043171)

I'd pay ten copper to see that.

Roll 1D20 .... (4, Funny)

cold fjord (826450) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042657)

You fail your morale check and can't post this round.

When?! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46042659)

When will young people learn that playing Dungeons & Dragons doesn't make you cool!?

Re:When?! (2)

mikerubin (449692) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042669)

no, but it is/was fun.
and nothing more.

Re:When?! (-1, Troll)

Toe, The (545098) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042709)

no, but it is/was fun.
and nothing more.

Yeah, but all that not-getting-laid... how fun was that?

Re:When?! (3, Informative)

dreamchaser (49529) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042827)

Thankfully it's also a myth. It never stopped me at least. I haven't played in years now except occasionally, but from about '76 through '86 it was one of my favorite non-sport pastimes, and it never got in the way of getting girls :)

I guess YMMV.

Re:When?! (4, Informative)

aevan (903814) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042833)

Considering we had several girl gamers in our groups, and several married that spat out kids over the years we gamed...
*shrug* but sorry, you were on a non-fact rant, apologises for interrupting you with some.

Re:When?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46043181)

Yeah, but all that not-getting-laid... how fun was that?

I banged Magnys Carter the Barmaid/Whore in the ass, and it was mildly fun. Then you were born. I am your father.

Re:When?! (3, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043835)

I banged Magnys Carter the Barmaid/Whore in the ass, [...] Then you were born. I am your father.

You seem to have a fundamental misconception about certain key points on human reproduction. Or elementary anatomy. Or both.

Re:When?! (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043759)

I did fuck some of my female players.

Wait... Were you on one of those "only men allowed" RPG groups?

Re:When?! (1)

LordLucless (582312) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042865)

They probably stopped caring when they left school, and "being cool" stopped being their life's ambition.

Re:When?! (1)

meerling (1487879) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043055)

Gotta link it :D


Tried playing this game (5, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042665)

Got bogged down by the rules.

I always had a lot more fun as a kid playing pretend games (when kids still played those instead of video games) than RPGs with a lot of rules. I think the amount of books and their expense just killed it. Tried several RPGing systems since, BESM and the like.

I learned that I like it a lot better when a computer takes care of all the details.

Re:Tried playing this game (4, Interesting)

msevior (145103) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042747)

Clear rules are what makes a good game. It's really frustrating to play a game where "you make it up as you go along" :-)

D&D was awesome as a 20-year-old and its far more fun having people rather then computers to interact with.

Re:Tried playing this game (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46043479)

You'd probably love GURPS, the gentoo of RPGs.

Re:Tried playing this game (2)

cerberusss (660701) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043641)


D&D was awesome as a 20-year-old

It's still awesome as a 30-year-old :) I'm playing with a bunch of people who work in the same building as I do. We usually play every two weeks. Sometimes it's old-school AD&D, sometimes the newer 3.5. It's amazing to just forget a bit about work, wife and kid, and play the hammer-wielding cleric.

Re:Tried playing this game (4, Interesting)

VortexCortex (1117377) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043655)

Clear rules are what makes a good game. It's really frustrating to play a game where "you make it up as you go along" :-)

This is an anecdotal statement, and I disagree vehemently. The rules only help the GM make a game good. I shall counter with my own anecdote: In my youth I played a wide variety of RPGs in a nearly daily group of about 10 friends, we'd hit up someone's house after school, and summer time was 3 months of non stop RPG building, story crafting, and playing. We had some games that lasted for years, and developed a set of "house rules" for running games. In our experience Role Playing games are far more fun when the Game Master (read: DM) is used as a story teller and the rules are largely set aside to let us focus on the game play, i.e. let us use the available skills and world crafting and thinking in-character on the fly instead of hampering creativity and bogging down battles. If a plausible explanation could be made, we rolled with it -- or rather didn't roll for anything at all. Rules of the game were used to settle disputes between the players and GM, and the GM applied the player's actions to the world according to a general understanding of the character. Anyone could challenge an event to trial by dice, and that's really the only role the strict rules played well. In fact, when the new editions of AD&D came out we just used the settings and monsters, etc., screw all those bullshit rules. GURPS was better for combating power creep anyway (and let us throw in time traveling cyborgs, or characters from other campaigns etc. from time to time).

In fact, some games like In Nomine, embraced this type of game-play where rules take a back seat explicitly. It had a simplistic dice mechanic that called for a degree of interpretation and yielded far more frequent spectacular successes and failures. [2D6 to beat a target number for a skill / ability, blow karma points to lower the target, 1D6 is severity of success or failure, 1,1,1 = Divine intervention. 6,6,6 = Satan smiles upon you -- Either is good or bad depending on who you're working for.] The dice in this use were like an aide to the story teller and players -- To smooth disputes, and let chaos nudge the course while allowing a player's desire to win a dice roll actually influence its outcome somewhat. E.g., A player spends two karma points to really end his foe, and insists on rolling to ensure the GM doesn't tamper with fate:

You rare back and throw every fiber of your angelic form into the punch, nearly tearing the tendons of your corporeal vessel. The blow destroys the treacherous demon's skull will a loud crunch. As the vermin's soul escapes back to hell you catch a fleeting whiff of brimstone and realize that in the scuffle your own flaming sword of valor has set your hair afire. The voice of the Dark Prince himself booms from everywhere and nowhere, "Consider the hair cut a gift for saving me the trouble of finding that fiendish failure. Yes, the diabolical look does suit you..." The 666 roll doesn't have to be terribly bad for the good guys, it can just add character and mood, or it can enhance the plot -- for instance, if the angel falls. The flexible rules allow success and failure to be far more nuanced and malleable to both players and story tellers. A good Game Master uses the rules to make the game more fun, and a good rule set lets them do so. It's why we play after all.

D&D was awesome as a 20-year-old and its far more fun having people rather then computers to interact with.

Then why the hell would you apply strict rules to make humans emulate computers? All the speed and determinism of a human calculator trying to apply complex rule based programs with all the frustration of interfacing with a dumb computer running glitchy logic and neither knows nor cares about what 'fun' is. You picked the worst spot in the venn diagram ever. Creative people make the classic RPGs fun, not the boring rules.

Re:Tried playing this game (2)

doctor woot (2779597) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042769)

That's a shame, computers are largely limited to what the coder who wrote a piece of software came up with, which, if you're imaginative and have played a tabletop RPG, you'll find ends up missing an awful lot. That's why tabletop RPGs find a wide audience to this day, they give you the flexibility to do what you want even when what you want to do isn't covered by the rules explicitly. In the majority of computer RPGs out there, if what you want to do isn't covered by the rules, tough shit. Either mod it (which does little to sidestep the issue of complexity) or hope someone else does.

Besides, any half-decent roleplaying group will assist you in learning the rules and getting a hang of things. After just a few hours you stop getting confused by stat sheets and the like.

Re:Tried playing this game (5, Informative)

DrFalkyn (102068) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042841)

D&D was all about the DM ... if you have a good one, it was a blast, if you had a bad one it was snore. The rules were really only there as a guide, a good DM would learn to ignore a bad dice role (and, occassionally ignore a good one :-) ) .. thats what those screens were for :-)

Re:Tried playing this game (1)

camperdave (969942) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042995)

I was the king of bad rolls back in the day... or I would have been if the tens die had been a 9 instead of a 2. Many's the time when I heard the DM roll, then roll again, mutter, then roll again, before announcing that I'd been seriously injured. I think the bad rolls are what kept me from getting too serious about gaming.

Re:Tried playing this game (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043749)

I agree about the need for a good DM. I disagree about the "rules are a guide" bit.

In my experience, the DMs who "didn't stop the game to go find obscure rules, to make it more interesting", just as those who dealt with rules doubts and questions with "It's an interpretative game" were simply too stupid to understand and follow the rules quick enough.

At some point, some people decided that anyone could manage a game where a single person had to read, understand, remember and correctly apply a hundred books of rules. And that was, and still is, false. Most people can't even understand the three page thick rules of a board game. And I'm talking about people who can actually sit at a table and read three consecutive pages.

The problem with P&P RPGs has always been that rules must be systematically dumbed down to turn monopoly grade players into potential buyers.

Re:Tried playing this game (4, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042893)

As an avid video gamer who's gotten into tabletop gaming, I've found they both have their strengths.

Computers work well for rigidly-defined rules, particularly for stuff like combat. If all you're doing is slaying orcs and such, computers can do a lot of it better.

Tabletop gaming works for less well-defined systems. No game has really, *really* gotten diplomacy right - it comes down to figuring out the right choices to make in a few menus. And clever players will be able to work better in a tabletop RPG - things that totally would work in the real world, but the official rules don't have anything for. With video games, maybe you can find a mod to add a button to let you do something, but with a tabletop game and a decent GM, you'll be able to create "rules" on the fly to handle it.

My players were fighting a dragon, and managed to wound it enough that it would (logically) retreat rather than keep fighting. He took off, they all fired off ranged attacks while he flew off, except for one. She threw her grappling hook at it, which there aren't specific rules for so I treated it as a ranged touch attack. Success. She tried to climb it (which there is a set of rules for), failed, and then failed an opposed strength check from the dragon trying to shake her off (I improvised the check being necessary, but used the general rule for "two people doing something against each other involving muscle").

I've gotten to the point now where I don't even try to plan things step-by-step, I just invent a scenario and let my players figure out the best solution. For another example:
In the aftermath of the last quest, two of the three players ended up in jail (on charges of public indecency/intoxication and high treason/negligent regicide, respectively). The last had to break them out. All I had planned was what sort of cells and protection each was under, as well as the idea that they would be taken eventually to the court to be judged and they could possibly be rescued in transit. They figured out how to get one out beforehand by bending the bars of the window enough for him to slip through. They then set up a detailed plan to rescue the last guy in transit, having one person in disguise as a guard to disable the guards with drugged treats, with the other standing by on the rooftops to Errol Flynn his way in if combat broke out. Meanwhile, the imprisoned guy was taunting his captors, trying to goad them into dragging him out of his cage to engage in some police brutality (both as a distraction, and to get out of some of his restraints). Their stealth approach failed, but they managed to fight their way through it with the element of surprise. The game starts up again tomorrow with them on the run in the immediate aftermath, and I have absolutely no idea how they're going to get out of this, but I'm sure they'll come up with something.

As a guy who both studied game design and is working on a video game, and as a guy running two Pathfinder* campaigns, both have their unique strengths. A paper RPG that has too many rules *is* doing something wrong, but that's a fault of the specific game, not tabletop RPGs in general. And I think it may have been a historic thing - since I'm far from the first to realize the strengths of the two, tabletop RPGs have mostly gotten simpler and more streamlined since the early days, and having massive multi-volume rulebooks is no longer considered a good thing.

* Pathfinder is basically D&D 3.75. Like with any nerddom, major changes piss off users, so a company (actually the magazine publishing arm of WotC, which was spun off shortly before D&D 4.0) took advantage of the open-sourcing of D&D 3.5 to fork it and make a new game that's basically 3.5 with some simplifications and a new trademark, rather than the major upheaval that is 4.0. I like it because it's just complex enough to be interesting, and it's also like 75% cheaper (you can get into it with just the Beginner Box for $30 or so, and the only book you absolutely need for the full game is the Core Rulebook, everything else is just an addon (and you can even get by just using their free website, since it's kind of open-source, but it's still very, very useful to have a physical book)). Since I haven't bought any official game modules, I just improvised both campaigns I'm running (one is actually a crazy crossover between a Warhammer 40K RPG we'd been playing before this and Pathfinder. My own character (who appears whenever I need to advance the metaplot or something) is a Paladin of Khorne, and if you know the lore behind those two things you're probably wondering what the hell I'm smoking).

Re:Tried playing this game (1)

westlake (615356) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042913)

Got bogged down by the rules.

I remember the rules as favoring human player characters over all others, no matter how well played. When the dice are loaded a game stops being fun.

Re:Tried playing this game (1)

reve_etrange (2377702) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042951)

No edition of D&D has ever favored human PCs unfairly, if all the rules surrounding age, multiclassing, etc. were followed. Most likely, the DM and/or players were ignoring some rules.

But this comment - like the parent - come from a basic problem some people have with role-playing games: the inability to see rules as guidelines.

Re:Tried playing this game (1)

Boronx (228853) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043037)

D&D only approaches fun for all when the characters are relatively balanced. This screams bad game design to me. An RPG should be fun even with a weak character relative to everyone else. In other words, failure should be as fun as success.

The fact that good DMing in D&D means fudging dice rolls is another sign of this same problem. When the dice hit the table, quite often only some of the possible outcomes don't kill the fun.

Re:Tried playing this game (3, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043191)

1. It is fun with a weak character relative to everyone else.
2. Failure is as fun as success - notice that almost all old school D&D players have a favorite story to tell in which usually a character if not the entire party dies.
3. Fudging dice rolls is unnecessary. Yes some DMs want a softer game and so do that - which I guess is fine if that's the game you want to play. There's no need to, just don't get attached to that character...

Re:Tried playing this game (1)

Boronx (228853) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043545)

All this is true with an excellent DM in any RPG, but the D&D rules do not help at all. There are plenty of systems out there that help even newbie DMs create a fun time for everyone.

Re:Tried playing this game (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043173)

You played some crappy house rules then...

Re:Tried playing this game (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46043517)

I think you mean elves, who were both fighters and magic users at first level. They could even cast spells in armor!

Re:Tried playing this game (1)

reve_etrange (2377702) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042955)

You ignored the most important rule: it's your game.

Re:Tried playing this game (2)

msobkow (48369) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042999)

A good dungeon master makes all the difference.

Especially one who can make up the game as they go along instead of strictly following "the path" one is *supposed* to be following. Many a night we'd never actually get around to the campaign, because we decided to get drunk at the bar and rearrange the trees and shrubberies in town in our drunken 18S stupors.

He wouldn't even let us play some of the campaigns after we did that because he said we'd been banished from the village for our behaviour. :D

Re:Tried playing this game (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043041)

I got into a game one night with a DM who told us that "things don't always work the way you expect." It took me less than twenty minutes to learn that this meant that anything you tried to do other than what she expected Just Didn't Work, and we weren't going to be allowed to do anything that wasn't in her script. At that point, I closed my books and left, telling the DM exactly why I was leaving. The weird thing is that nobody else followed my example, because most of us were pretty free-wheeling and liked to think outside the box whenever we could.

Re:Tried playing this game (2)

gman003 (1693318) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043103)

"Things don't always work the way you expect" would be better advice for a GM than for a player. At least with one set of players (I GM two games), I've found it better to just create a scenario and let them figure out how to deal with it, rather than to come up with one solution and try to lead players to it. Which leads me to think like an adversary - I'll think "OK, so the players are going to try to bust this guy out of jail, now how would the city guard be protecting him? He's awaiting trial for multiple murders, treason and grand theft, so they'd be keeping him in a secure cell. Deep in the dungeons, probably. And in solitary. Probably keep him manacled even in his cell, come to think of it, since they're claiming him to be 'the most dangerous man in the eight kingdoms' and the sole mastermind behind the big attack to mask their incompetence that let the other two escape.". I figured out general guard schedules, equipment and such, but left the details to be improvised.

I make sure that there *is* a viable solution or two (imitate a lawyer to sneak in and meet with him, pass him some kit for him to escape with; actually act as a lawyer and get him off on a technicality (technically it was a different party member who did most of the murders); forge a request for extradition from another kingdom that wants to execute him for negligent regicide (he actually did do that one); hire an army of goons and storm the Bastille; buy a dozen scrolls of teleport and just warp in and out), but I've never successfully predicted one that they've used (they waited until he was being taken to trial, then tried to recreate the scene from The Dark Knight with the police convoy).

Re:Tried playing this game (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043169)

we had a mix, where the D&D rules were easily indexed from CD rom and most of the consumables were printed

Re:Tried playing this game (2)

dcollins (135727) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043317)

Different editions vary a lot. The original edition was the best IMO -- one single box, three small booklets with everything needed to play (monsters, infinite levels, dungeon/wilderness/air/water environments, castle-building, etc. etc.; 1974 white box set). I only got my hands on it myself in 2007. It was truly eye-opening, and it's all I've played since.

Like many things, the business thereafter was increasingly built on unwanted features and unnecessary bloat.

Irritated Dungeon Master (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042695)

DM: What class is your character?
Noob: Vulcan! Spock is wicked cool.

Re:Irritated Dungeon Master (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46043081)

Re:Irritated Dungeon Master (4, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043823)

DM: What class is your character?

Noob: Vulcan! Spock is wicked cool.

Irritated? Dungeon Master, heh, yeah. What a bore. A Game Master would be Overjoyed. Halflings and Wizards can work with Spock, (hell, he'd be mistaken for an Elf in Shadowrun [shadowruntabletop.com] ), and in games like Rifts, [palladiumbooks.com] or super-rule-sets like GURPS, [sjgames.com] the more worlds collide the better!

You'd actually be irritated instead of imagining a Star Trek 'away team' going off course on The Voyage Home and winding up amidst There and Back Again? You can't fathom the fun of Starfleet's finest crash landing on Bag End, and being guilt tripped into helping Gandalf take back the Lonely Mountain from a dragon that's been conspiring with dimensional shamblers to bring an evil cyBorg race to Middle Earth?

Closed minds are the biggest reason the medium is in such a state.

Rogue (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46042711)

Now that was a game! Much better than Hack. Damn dog...

Re:Rogue (4, Funny)

SQLGuru (980662) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042805)

Who? My faithful dog WandTester? He was awesome.....at least until I found a Wand of Death.

Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46042737)

Excellent video. Ahh the memories. I had owned the first set as well as the early Eldritch collection.

Never understood it (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042745)

In the early 80s a friend of mine was really into Dungeons and Dragons. He was constantly trying to get me to play and I tried a few times but I found it to be boring and pointless.

Re:Never understood it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46042765)

You had a bad DM then.

Re:Never understood it (3, Informative)

meerling (1487879) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043089)

Gaming isn't for everyone. No big deal. If you don't like a form of entertainment, nobody really cares.
It's like football, or opera, or country music, or chocolate, so many other things. You like it, or you don't. It's just the way it goes.

Unless of course you happen to be one of those ignorant douche-bags that rag on hobbies you don't understand or don't like.
If that's the case, then I'll just point out that I've made a number of those types miserable and horribly embarrassed in front of their peers and have no regrets for the divine retribution they were slammed with. It's rather easy to do with that type, and their 'friends' tend to be the ones to thoroughly enjoy watching it happen.

Q: How many characters lost in Tomb of Horrors? (5, Funny)

xymog (59935) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042755)

A: All of them!

Recall how it was going to turn us into Satanists? (5, Informative)

sandbagger (654585) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042759)

Adults in the 60s, 70s and 80s were smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, getting high on grass and coke before they had kids and now were suddenly worried about everyone's grip on reality.

I was probably more obsessive about Star Fleet Battles than D&D but for some reason fears over D&D caught the wind. Why? Sci-Fi nerds were supposed to appreciate science but not people who were obsessed with dragons. Weird.

Re:Recall how it was going to turn us into Satanis (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042813)

and it did. scoreboard.

Re:Recall how it was going to turn us into Satanis (5, Insightful)

SteveFoerster (136027) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042889)

Meanwhile, I played as a kid, and now I play with my kids. It's actually a convenient parenting tool, because you can let them perish from the consequences of their poor decisions without being arrested for child neglect.

Re:Recall how it was going to turn us into Satanis (1)

reve_etrange (2377702) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042961)

Good point. Also it teaches imagination, logic, basic arithmetic and the ability to write neatly in little boxes.

Re:Recall how it was going to turn us into Satanis (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46043561)

and the ability to write neatly in little boxes.

(this skill is less useful now than it used to be)

Re:Recall how it was going to turn us into Satanis (1)

SpankiMonki (3493987) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043003)

Why? Sci-Fi nerds were supposed to appreciate science but not people who were obsessed with dragons. Weird.

I'd go a little further and say that another reason was that adults at the time were familiar with Star Wars (and the elements of Christian allegory therein), but were ignorant of D&D game play. As a result, it was a simple matter for fear-mongering elements of certain religious persuasions to raise a ruckus about the game.

Re:Recall how it was going to turn us into Satanis (4, Interesting)

bob_super (3391281) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043535)

You may have forgotten how the first edition did have spec for all the major devils and demons.
That's what freaked out short-sighted people. To them, it wasn't about how you were going to kick demon/devil butt, as much as the horror of seeing kids throwing scary names around.

When Harry Potter came out, an otherwise very smart engineer, who spent too much time in church, told me that they had a discussion about the books and their influence on children. They had a witchcraft specialist (I think he said a witch) comment on how the spells JKR wrote down were too close to the real magic and children shouldn't be familiar with them or run around casting them at each other.
I honestly wish I was making this up.

So yeah, the bad rep of the game was because some people get scared at the mere mention of some dark elements of their religious mythos.

Re:Recall how it was going to turn us into Satanis (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46043551)

It also doesn't help when Dieties and Demigods lists Jesus as a monster next to Buddha and Thor.

Re:Recall how it was going to turn us into Satanis (2)

msobkow (48369) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043021)

Yeah, but the same people who were ranting about D&D were also claiming Ozzy Osbourne was the devil himself, heavy metal was the end of society, and so on.

Nowadays the descendants of those nutbars blame it all on the gays, the muslims, etc.

There are always whack jobs looking for someone to blame for their own problems.

Which reminds me of a good post I read recently:

Believer: God, the troubles in this world -- it's all because of the gays, isn't it?
God: Yes, yes it is.
Believer: I knew it!
God: You misunderstand. It's the way you treat them.

Re:Recall how it was going to turn us into Satanis (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46043157)

>I was probably more obsessive about Star Fleet Battles

Ah, clearly a man of impeccable taste. Hail and well met, fellow captain!

Re:Recall how it was going to turn us into Satanis (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46043225)

Yeah, I remember that.

Re:Recall how it was going to turn us into Satanis (1)

cold fjord (826450) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043541)

Recall how it was going to turn us into Satanists?

I don't think that was generally the claim, but rather that it would be a diversion leading away from God and the church, and potentially leave one vulnerable to harmful influences of various sorts, including spiritual. Weren't there some people that committed suicide after their characters were killed in the game? I don't think time spent studying the monster manuals or magic would be of much aid in the actual spiritual journey we face on earth even if you could make various other claims of benefit.

Adults in the 60s, 70s and 80s were smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, getting high on grass and coke before they had kids and

Also, I doubt that very many devout Christians, reference above, were getting high on coke.

Used to love D&D... But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46042771)

D&D isn't even remotely as good as it used to be--even back in 3rd edition. They completely hosed everything when they shattered The Realms and ever after that, I've boycotted the jagoffs who screwed everything up with their bullshit software versioning shit. I guess their marketing people thought that would appeal to those with ADD and cell phones.

Pathfinder (3, Informative)

SteveFoerster (136027) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042881)

That's why my group uses Pathfinder [paizo.com] , a fork of third edition D&D that is still supported and thriving. And all your third edition supplements are compatible.

Re:Pathfinder (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46042987)

Agreed. Pathfinder is the only version of D&D I can honestly recommend. I used to prefer 3.5 over 2nd edition (and certainly over 4e which was D&D in name only), but with the coming of Pathfinder, there's simply no reason to put up with the nagging flaws of 3.5 anymore. Paizo saved tabletop gaming because god knows no one plays GURPS.

Re:Pathfinder (1)

CrashNBrn (1143981) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043143)

GURPS only problem that I know of, is the whole system pretty much falls apart when/if your Character gets 16+ in a prime stat. That, and perhaps there is enough evidence that a few more primary attributes would help the system.

So likely not that difficult to fix the main problems GURPS has - leave the reliance on 3d6 rolls to another feat/resistance roll type system, and consider how a couple (2/3/4?) more Primary Attributes could be worked into the existing skill system.

Re:Used to love D&D... But... (1)

meerling (1487879) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043125)

The Forgotten Realms was just one setting. By the time 3rd edition came out, my groups had mostly moved to other settings. I like the 3.x (3.5 more than 3.0) but they had there problems. (what doesn't?) I was excited about 4th, until I got the actual rules. That was a major let down, unless you were a fighter. Then Pathfinder saved the day. D&D Next (don't know if they will call it 5th or not) looks good. Of course, the still have plenty of time to screw it up.

Currently I'm playing Numenera, which is a completely different rules system.

The various computer rpgs (mmo or otherwise) are cool, but they just don't do a good enough job. They are all to limited and linear, except for the ones that are empty of content and story where you just run around killing people, those bore me in nothing flat. The main advantage of the pen & paper variety (even if you play it online in a chat room or virtual tabletop) is that you aren't bound to a script, and a human is moderating the story. It can respond and change to suit the needs of the game. (And trust me, you try to railroad the players, and they'll go so far off the tracks you won't even freaking know where the tracks even were.)

but they keep breaking shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46043153)

Used to be?

I'm Gygax was smoking something when he came up with the Monk. No armor: okay, gets natural AC. Best hand to hand combatants in game, even getting special damage bonuses: but could only use shitty weapons. Most damage in Hand to Hand combat! (Except Rangers vs giant classed humanoids) but helpless against vermin only hurtable by magic/silver weapons. lastly no armor, masters of hand to hand combat, gets natural AC bonus, but gets D4 for hit points and a max of +2/die because they aren't Fighters.

Then there were the no swords for clerics, except elf clerics in Greyhawk, who according to the PHB could only be NPCs.

Rangers +1 to hit and damage vs Giant Classed Humanoids. Rangers don't need a hammer of thunderbolts.

Unearthed Arcana fixed some stuff, like allowed elves to be Rangers and Clerics. But broke a shitload more: Barbarians.

Unfortunately breaking shit that wasn't broken in the previous books was a trend that has continued: Fix 1 issue, break something unrelated, then introduce a shitload more issues. This trend has continued ever since.

I may do Pathfinder one day, but there are other more interesting games out there.

Re:Used to love D&D... But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46043183)

Dude, you have it all wrong, it was the the Time of Troubles that ruined the Realms, or it was the insertion of the Moonshaes, or it was that time Ed Greenwood blew up the inn...and D&D was ruined when they printed the Greyhawk book!

Sigh, edition wars, will the madness never end?

Like what you like, let others like something different, without thinking it must be bad because it's not what you like.

No save option (2)

stackOVFL (1791898) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042797)

I could never figure out how to save the game so I always had to start over naked, in the woods, on a dark path where I found a a wood club. Kinda strange how I always had a wood club when I was naked in the woods hmmmm. Wait a minute! Girl DM's go figure.

A couple things I learned (4, Interesting)

Krishnoid (984597) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042817)

The concept that alignment describes behavior along multiple axes [slashdot.org] and how the differences between wisdom and intelligence [slashdot.org] are explicitly called out, are a couple things that shaped my perspective on the world.

Re:A couple things I learned (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46042883)

That's why I grumble about 4E where alignment is just one axis now, and the interplay between law and chaos versus good and evil is lost.

I miss DM-ing. I still have a pretty large campaign from the 1E days, and may end up rewriting it for Pathfinder.

I also miss how hard it was to score even a +1 item. In newer AD&D releases, a player can just rustle up junk, carve up one. In 1E, it took a very high level wizard who knew the enchant spell, and permanency, not to mention the cash for a very well made weapon to unload the spells on. Anything more took a wish spell to fix enchantments. Damn hard, because it took a LONG time to get to the ninth tier of wizard spells back then.

*shrug* Guess I'm an old fart. With MMOs, someone can just fire up WoW or EVE with an anti-social, griefing nature of play and have quite a measure of success without any meaningful interaction with others, getting their rocks off by podding or camping graveyards for their entire gameplay.

Re:A couple things I learned (2)

reve_etrange (2377702) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043027)

In newer AD&D releases, a player can just rustle up junk, carve up one

And pay steep materials and XP costs. Don't expect the game to balance if the DM doesn't charge the players for spell materials and XP costs.

In 1E, it took a very high level wizard

In 3(.5)E, you have to be 5th level to enchant weapons, 9th for rods, 12th for rings and staffs. Those levels are minimums; the actual requirements depend on the features of the items. In practice in 1E, it was almost impossible to ever create any kind of magic item. The slightly lower requirements in later editions were designed so that it would be possible for characters in medium-length campaigns to create something.

That said, the zeroth rule of role-playing games is: it's your game. Don't complain about the rules when you can just change them. Personally, I mostly play in ultra-low magic games, in which the requirements to cast spells and create items are far in excess of those even in 1E.

Re:A couple things I learned (1)

meerling (1487879) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043135)

No, you just had a stingy GM.

Re:A couple things I learned (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46043137)

That's why I grumble about 4E where alignment is just one axis now, and the interplay between law and chaos versus good and evil is lost.

I miss DM-ing. I still have a pretty large campaign from the 1E days, and may end up rewriting it for Pathfinder.

Alignment to other people was a pointless straitjacket that they removed themselves. So...yeah, to each their own.

I also miss how hard it was to score even a +1 item. In newer AD&D releases, a player can just rustle up junk, carve up one. In 1E, it took a very high level wizard who knew the enchant spell, and permanency, not to mention the cash for a very well made weapon to unload the spells on. Anything more took a wish spell to fix enchantments. Damn hard, because it took a LONG time to get to the ninth tier of wizard spells back then.

*shrug* Guess I'm an old fart.

You are, because you're complaining about something you don't like...as if you didn't have the ability to change it, if you're willing to consider the implications.

Many people in earlier editions gave out magic items (aka Monty Haul), but had no idea how to deal with that, so that warped the game. Now the game makers are taking some role and consideration into that, and working with it...in a way that differs from how Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson did things. Sometimes that doesn't work out well, but then that was true of what those original DMs did too, just look at the wackiness of the monk, assassin, and bard classes.

So y'know what? I like that people can play Paladins if they want, without meeting extreme stat requirements. I like that magic items are a more intrinsic part of the game, and I like a lot of things that have changed.

But you don't? Fine with me, just don't be a complaining old fart about it. You won't hear me complaining about your game because your style is different.

With MMOs, someone can just fire up WoW or EVE with an anti-social, griefing nature of play and have quite a measure of success without any meaningful interaction with others, getting their rocks off by podding or camping graveyards for their entire gameplay.

You don't know much about MMOs on a real level, or you'd know how there are dedicated groups that work together to achieve actual success, and how that gameplay you talk about, is nearly meaningless.

Ah yes, the good ol' days of D & D... (4, Interesting)

SpankiMonki (3493987) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042863)

...when disaffected nerdy kids could lock themselves away to play for hours and hours and hours without fear of getting sent to Chinese rehabs. [slashdot.org]

Of course, players back then had to worry about being burned at the stake. [stuffyoushouldknow.com]

D&D Anecdotes (4, Interesting)

LordLucless (582312) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042927)

Well, this seems to be the place for sharing anecdotes (which, I think, is the big pull of D&D - the ability to create shared moments that you can look back on, talk about, and laugh at).

There was the time the party was sneaking in to a goblin warren. The rogue volunteered to try and scout out the entryway, and slipped in. Sure enough, there were two goblins on watch. When spotted, he managed to kill both goblins before they raised the alarm. After this impressive feat of martial prowess (and lucky dice), he signalled the rest of the party that the way was clear by blowing his signal whistle (which the player had included on his sheet, and was looking for a reason to use), thereby alerting the whole warren who promptly swarmed out and mobbed him. After the party had rescued him, and beaten back the goblins, the paladin smashed his signal whistle.

Then there was the time the ranger decided to try and activate the mystic weapon-orb at the top of a tower under siege by the undead, because the party's wizard was being too slow and cautious. It activated, destroying the undead, but also blew the ranger off the top of the tower. He had the ability to reduce falling damage though, and survived the fall. Running up the tower to meet his companions, he forgot about the flame trap the party had avoided earlier, and got scorched into the bargain. Finally he stumbled out onto the towers roof, interrupting the party leader's impassioned eulogy.

Re:D&D Anecdotes (2)

reve_etrange (2377702) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043077)

Once, the party was investigating an abandoned Dwarven mine, when we stumbled into a beholder's laboratory, littered with odd, incredibly life-like statues of heroes in various horrifying poses. The beholder came home while we were rifling through his treasures - leading to a desperate battle in which the creature used telekinesis to pin the cleric to a wall, and heat rays to begin dissecting him. We soon discovered the provenance of the statues, when our brutal lizard-man warrior was turned to stone.

The rest of the party managed to escape. We then quested for months in search of a Wand of Stone to Flesh, eventually obtained by burglarizing a powerful wizard. In the course of these adventures, the rogue was forced to become a were-rat (on pain of death) in order to join the upper ranks of the Thieves' Guild, the ranger was seduced and nearly devoured by a vampire, and the wizard was driven mad by a Gibbering Mouther who tempting him with a Book of Vile Darkness. He became meglomaniacal, and imprisoned the souls of an entire lizard-people village before we pinned him down and burned the evil tome in front of him.

Wand in hand, we returned to the beholder's lair, leading to a second desperate battle which was won only when the rogue was able to trigger the wand and restore the warrior, who surprised and killed the beholder while it was trying to dissect the cleric again.

The rest of the PCs elected not to tell him about the escapade involving the souls of his kinsmen.

Re:D&D Anecdotes (4, Interesting)

meerling (1487879) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043175)

Here's one for you. The party had decided that the Merchant was actually a thief (now known as rogue) and tried to force him to open a chest in an empty room. He figured it was a big obvious trap, and refused, also taking offense to being called a thief. They responded by putting a crossbow to his head (and other weapons pointed at other body parts) and forced him to open the chest.
So he wouldn't try something, and so they'd be there to grab the loot, they went in the room as well. To avoid getting caught in the trap that must be on the chest, they were all 15' back.
The merchant wasn't very happy about that. Seeing no other options that included possible survival, he unlocked and opened the chest.
At this point, the entire floor of the room, except for the chest, and the tiny area in front of it collapsed into a very deep pit trap. All of the party except for the merchant were seriously injured by this.
Taking advantage of the situation, the merchant spotted a handful of large gems in the chest on top of the coinage, which he promptly pocketed before yelling down to see if the party survived.

Now you might think the GM was pulling a fast one to punish a party that turned on one of their own for loot and broke their vow to not harm one another. Well, we all pretty much thought that, including the player of the merchant. So we called the GM on it. He laughed and pulled out his map of that small area, and pointed out the room, and the trap notations. He didn't fudge a single thing. That's exactly how that trap was supposed to work.
The GM thought this was hilarious. After seeing that the GM didn't pull a fast one of his own, the merchant player did to.
On top of that, his character ended up with more valuables than the rest of the party did combined on that little delve, and he couldn't have done it if they'd have just trusted him. (Actually he wouldn't have even tried to steal those gems, except for the threats to his life. They convinced him that he needed some just compensation for their blackmail and attempts to kill him.)

Re:D&D Anecdotes (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46043187)

The DM raises his eyes, disbelievingly, and said: "Wait - you want to have sex, now, right behind the desecrated altar?"

"No." I replied. As he breathed out a sigh, I continued, "I want to have sex ON the desecrated altar."

I got bonus experience for that one.

Best part - I leveled from that xp.

Another one (2)

Okian Warrior (537106) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043335)

The game master would give XP for making an impressive joke, or figuring out a difficult puzzle, or whatnot. We also used to refer to the "Detect Magic" spell by the initials "D.M." (as in "I cast D.M.")

After we had finished cleaning the room, a female player casually remarked: "Ok, now I'm going to blow my D.M". To which he replied: "you get 1,000 XP".

We were rolling on the floor for at least 30 minutes...

Re:D&D Anecdotes (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043621)

Two words: "camo sludge." I was on a dungeon crawl once, running a rather eccentric female cleric named Simple Aimee McPherson, who was chaotic neutral and buy-sexual. (If it was sexual, she'd buy it.) At one point, in a cave, we ran across some brown mold. Nobody was sure how to deal with it, but we knew it fed on heat. Then, Aimee had a "bright" idea: she pulled out a vial of green slime that she just happened to have and poured it on the mold. This sent the DM into a trance for about a minute as he worked out what would happen. (Kids, don't try this one at home!) The slime started to eat the mold, generating heat, which caused the mold to grow making more food for the slime. It was touch and go, and we ended up having a Rod of Lordly Might fall into the goop, ruining it, but we eventually managed to get out of their alive. We had enough sense left to go back to town and report on what we'd done before there was enough gunk to get out of the cave and start digesting the whole world. The town's elders finally used a wish to make sure that the people they sent to deal with the situation would have enough of the right equipment to do the job properly.

No, Marcie! You didn't have to do that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46042945)

The startling truth about Dungeons & Dragons!


Bally made a pinball game 27 years ago (1, Offtopic)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | 1 year,7 days | (#46042975)

http://www.ipdb.org/machine.cg... [ipdb.org]

They should try that inlane/outlane system in new games.

Started a game to celebrate the 40th... (1)

elashish14 (1302231) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043047)

And I'll celebrate the 50th when it's over.

I only ever played about 30 games (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46043053)

I only ever played about 30 games of this, in my mid 20's (I never played as a teen, and got to know some die-hards in my late-youth). One guy had a character he called "Beast Rider". We (ok it started with me, but later adopted by others till everyone was doing it), mispronounced his characters name so instead of "Beast Rider" we would say "Bee Strider". He wanted his character to be mighty and huge, not something that rode on the back of a tiny bee. He later changed his character with a magic spell so that it could change size from "killer of 50 orcs with one swing, protected by a 20 level magic spell", and *poof* could sneek through a dungeon by crawling through cracks and crevices. Ahh, those were the days.

Ah... the memories... (2)

Tolvor (579446) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043119)

You stand in front of the Cave of Alborath, and the signs point that the orc raiding party definitely passed this way. There is a fresh orc-clan sign written in blood to the left of the cave entrance. You hope that the blood is not of the town captives that you seek to rescue.

From the cave mouth comes a slightly rotten stench. Light from the late afternoon sun allows you to see about 30 feet into the cave (60 with infravision) and you see a rough opening about 10' wide, with a 5' wide path around the larger rocks, strewn with fist-sized rocks fallen from the cave roof.

How will you proceed?

nerdiest game ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46043199)

D&D nerdiest game ever!

Requires friends.

Missing Gary Gygax (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46043245)

Right now I'm missing Gary Gygax.

He put so much into Greyhawk, not the books, but the source material. I so want to know what his vision was for the areas that were mentioned, but never fleshed out or even alluded to any anything but a minor footnote. I don't want fucking meta-plot of other late 2E bullshit or even the details that others came up with; I just want to know what the man had in mind when we wrote the original Greyhawk setting and left so many things on the map as ambiguous footnotes without anything other than a name as an adventure seed.

In my own defense, I'm also legally drunk. :-P

A couple things in This Post (-1, Offtopic)

currentnewsofindia (3441639) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043263)

Thanks for the information... I really love your blog posts... specially those on new news News In India [currentnewsofindia.com] Indian Latest News [currentnewsofindia.com]

Where are the Cheetos? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46043301)

Where are the Cheetos?

Re:Where are the Cheetos? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46043399)

Can I have a Mountain Dew?

40 years? Never heard of it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#46043431)

What is 'Dungeons and Dragons"?

Party Time! (5, Funny)

laejoh (648921) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043605)

I put on my robe and wizard's hat!

In celebration... (4, Funny)

Loki_1929 (550940) | 1 year,7 days | (#46043647)

bloodninja: Baby, I been havin a tough night so treat me nice aight?
BritneySpears14: Aight.
bloodninja: Slip out of those pants baby, yeah.
BritneySpears14: I slip out of my pants, just for you, bloodninja.
bloodninja: Oh yeah, aight. Aight, I put on my robe and wizard hat.
BritneySpears14: Oh, I like to play dress up.
bloodninja: Me too baby.
BritneySpears14: I kiss you softly on your chest.
bloodninja: I cast Lvl. 3 Eroticism. You turn into a real beautiful woman.
BritneySpears14: Hey...
bloodninja: I meditate to regain my mana, before casting Lvl. 8 chicken of the Infinite.
BritneySpears14: Funny I still don't see it.
bloodninja: I spend my mana reserves to cast Mighty F*ck of the Beyondness.
BritneySpears14: You are the worst cyber partner ever. This is ridiculous.
bloodninja: Don't f*ck with me bitch, I'm the mightiest sorcerer of the lands.
bloodninja: I steal yo soul and cast Lightning Lvl. 1,000,000 Your body explodes into a fine bloody mist, because you are only a Lvl. 2 Druid.
BritneySpears14: Don't ever message me again you piece of ****.
bloodninja: Robots are trying to drill my brain but my lightning shield inflicts DOA attack, leaving the robots as flaming piles of metal.
bloodninja: King Arthur congratulates me for destroying Dr. Robotnik's evil army of Robot Socialist Republics. The cold war ends. Reagan steals my accomplishments and makes like it was cause of him.
bloodninja: You still there baby? I think it's getting hard now.
bloodninja: Baby?
BritneySpears14: Ok, are you ready?
eminemBNJA: Aight, yeah I'm ready.
BritneySpears14: I like your music Em... Tee hee.
eminemBNJA: huh huh, yeah, I make it for the ladies.
BritneySpears14: Mmm, we like it a lot. Let me show you.
BritneySpears14: I take off your pants, slowly, and massage your muscular physique.
eminemBNJA: Oh I like that Baby. I put on my robe and wizard hat.
BritneySpears14: What the f*ck, I told you not to message me again.
eminemBNJA: Oh ****
BritneySpears14: I swear if you do it one more time I'm gonna report your ISP and say you were sending me kiddie porn you f*ck up.
eminemBNJA: Oh ****
eminemBNJA: damn I gotta write down your names or something

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