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January 22, 2010 6:12 AM   Subscribe

"I guess it's the stereotype of playing it - [the players] are usually fat, sweaty, hairy dorky men who are socially inept who happen to live in their mom's basement."

Dungeons & Dragons, the 1974 published fantasy role-playing game that once delivered your child to Satan, is still associated with self-deprecating nerds, played in secret (along with embarrassed "comings out") and scorned by jocks/Salon writers and their cheerleader girlfriends everywhere.

But what better way to break, or affirm, the stereotypes, than by listening to a 4th Edition D&D game being played, featuring not just by some scrubs off the street, oh no, but the creators of Penny Arcade, Tycho and Gabe? Still not tempted? How about if we throw loved/hated Star Trek actor, prodigious blogger and all round nice guy Wil Wheaton into the mix?

All files available as Podcasts and/or embedded in page. Warning: audio links feature some strong language.

Series 3 is now in session, found on the Wizards of the Coast Podcast archive page.
posted by Rei Toei (240 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite

 
Even America's sweetheart, Vin Diesel, loves him some D&D.
posted by billysumday at 6:17 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


So... we're going to combat a stereotype that this is an utter nerd/geek hobby by... showcasing a game by the guys who run one of the halcyons of nerd/geek culture?

I mean, yeah, I read PA too, but I'm under no illusions that this makes me cool.
posted by valkyryn at 6:18 AM on January 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


Yeah, I'm pretty sure that PA, which is an online comic strip about video games drawn by fat guys with no hair showing themselves as thin with LOTS of hair, kind of affirms the D&D stereotypes.

[NOT INTERNETIST COMICIST GAMEIST FATIST HAIRIST PAIST OR D&DIST]
posted by DU at 6:20 AM on January 22, 2010 [12 favorites]


My wife gets annoyed by almost any mention of a) MetaFilter, b) D&D (I played as a teenager), c) science fiction and/or d) internet in-jokes/memes.

I am, of course, forwarding her this post.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:21 AM on January 22, 2010 [61 favorites]


Series 3 is now in session, found on the Wizards of the Coast Podcast archive page.

Where 'now in session' means, 'ended in October.'

Damn, I thought there was a new one up.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:23 AM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I really do like those podcasts, though I'm honestly a WAY better DM.
posted by absalom at 6:25 AM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


an online comic strip about video games drawn by fat guys with no hair showing themselves as thin with LOTS of hair

Holkins, maybe. Not Krahulik. Honestly, it was hilarious, looking back, how shocked I was when I first saw their real forms. I don't usually mix people up with their artistic avatars that closely.
posted by AdamCSnider at 6:25 AM on January 22, 2010


I don my +1 Helm of Snark, and make a saving throw against meh.
posted by orthogonality at 6:25 AM on January 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Series 3 actually ended a few months back. I know this because I'm addicted to those podcasts. Whenever they come out, I listen to them weekly while at the gym. I'm not sure what my old self would think of that, that my nerd tendencies have been reduced to listening to other people play while I work out.

When the series are in session, I usually end up picking up a D&D book or two. This usually ends up depressing me, as nobody I know is interested in playing. I tried some pick-up games at the local game store once, but couldn't find a group that jibed.

Does anyone know any podcasts of game sessions that are close to the Penny Arcade model? Last time I looked there weren't any that approached the same feel as the PA game. They either were too serious, too poorly mic'ed, or way, way too long.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:26 AM on January 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


I think I would like these a lot better if they had video showing Jerry, Mike, and Will sitting around the table. I've got some kind of weird auditory discrimination issue that makes it hard to pick foreground noises out of background sometimes, and hearing disembodied voices makes it kind of hard for me to tell who's speaking most of the time.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:26 AM on January 22, 2010


@valkyryn

While I understand your point, I disagree. The PA guys and Wil Wheaton are cool. Who says so? I do. And lots of PA readers. And sci-fi fans.

Being a nerd/geek is cool.

We will not be dismissed! We are the cool people! We know this to be so because we are smarter than the people who say we are not cool!

Sorry, got a bit carried away there. I'll cut back on the coffee intake...
posted by Splunge at 6:27 AM on January 22, 2010


Holkins, maybe. Not Krahulik.

Somebody needs to inform Mike Krahulik of just how awful that goatee is.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:27 AM on January 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


With all the stuff on the Internet in the past decade (I predict that in the future, everyone will masturbate on a webcam for 15 minutes (minimum)), does D&D even meet the criteria for embarrassing anymore?
posted by troybob at 6:28 AM on January 22, 2010


Fear of Girls. Fear of Girls. Fear. Of. Girls. Seriously, every D&D player I show this to is horrified by its accuracy. Every RPer knows someone like these two gentlemen.
posted by griphus at 6:31 AM on January 22, 2010 [12 favorites]


Having these dudes play D&D surely destroys the "nerd" stereotype.
posted by Mister_A at 6:31 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, also, I make it a point of pride that I've mentioned my Sunday night D&D game on every first date I've had. What I have noticed is that the girls I mention it to tend to just see it as little more than one of those stereotypical "guy things" that they have no interest in but no animosity toward.
posted by griphus at 6:35 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


D&D retains its nerdishness undiminished by this puny attack.
posted by caddis at 6:36 AM on January 22, 2010


..nobody I know is interested in playing.

My older two sons (particularly the eldest) is pretty interested. To the point that he forced me to make a campaign (which I'd never done before) and made two of his own that we all played. It went...OK. I mean, they weren't epic in absolute terms but we did have a fair amount of fun.

But I feel like a real dork saying things like "leather helm" and "saving throw". So I weaned them onto Star Trek (TOS, obvs). But I still cringe when my wife walks in and Kirk is making out with an alien chick.
posted by DU at 6:36 AM on January 22, 2010


Splurge, yeah, fine, but recognizing one's ability to define one's status as part of an alternative culture does not in fact give one much currency in the dominant culture.

You want to think that you're cool under your terms, fine. Your friends may even agree with you. But let's be honest about the fact that we're playing an entirely different game here.

I enjoy sci-fi, PA, and video games, but I recognize that lots of cultured people don't, and frankly, the accolade of nerds/geeks is not exactly the praise of the praiseworthy.
posted by valkyryn at 6:39 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


> ... drawn by fat guys with no hair showing themselves as thin with LOTS of hair

To be fair, when they started the strip, the characters weren't supposed to be aliases for themselves.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:39 AM on January 22, 2010


Robocop: I run a couple of online D&D games using Fantasy Grounds II (Thanks, AskMe!), I'm sure a seat could be found for you at the table.

(Seats and Tables may be virtual.)
posted by absalom at 6:44 AM on January 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


valkyryn - I just want to counter that with the fact that being all punk rock was at first seen as some sort of horribly anti-social thing to align oneself with (much like sitting in a basement rolling dice and pretending you are a 12th Level Human Paladin) for quite a while and now it is considered Perfectly Okay/Cool. Considering the mass appeal of video games (WoW, especially,) there's nothing preventing D&D from eventually stumbling into Cool territory.
posted by griphus at 6:45 AM on January 22, 2010


4th Ed? Really? If I want to stand around watching cooldowns I'll just play World of Warcraft, thanks.

I've been thinking about trying to salvage 4E with some kind of house rules, but the more I look at it the more I realize I'd have to chop out and replace entire subsystems in order to keep the spirit of approachability while removing the paper-WoW aspect of the game. At that point it's probably simpler to just go back to my already extant sheaf of house rules for AD&D and play it instead, but I've been unable to convince any of my friends to go that far back in time.
posted by majick at 6:48 AM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


To old-school dudes like me, "human paladin" is redundant. Also, pallies are gay.
posted by Mister_A at 6:49 AM on January 22, 2010


being all punk rock was at first seen as some sort of horribly anti-social thing to align oneself with [...] and now it is considered Perfectly Okay/Cool.

That's not real punk rock!!!
posted by kid ichorous at 6:51 AM on January 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


Metal is the new punk rock.
posted by Mister_A at 6:52 AM on January 22, 2010


To old-school dudes like me, "human paladin" is redundant. Also, pallies are gay.

That's cool. Let me know when you're done spending two hours making THAC0-related calculations and I'll save my witty reply for then.
posted by griphus at 6:54 AM on January 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


1ST EDITION 4 LYFE
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:54 AM on January 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


I want to play D&D with Vin Diesel, Stephen Colbert, Jon Steward, and Judi Dench. And then watch Evangelion with Robin Williams.

Kind of off-topic, but every time I hear Vin Diesel speak about something he cares about, my opinion of him rises substantially.
posted by specialagentwebb at 6:55 AM on January 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


That's not real punk rock!!!

...and as far as I am concerned 4ed isn't D&D (make that 3ed for Mister_A.) Doesn't mean anyone on the outside looking in can tell the difference.
posted by griphus at 6:56 AM on January 22, 2010


Being a hopeless nerd is somehow the new hipster in-thing. Somehow, I'm still insulated from being made cool, though.
posted by Jon_Evil at 6:57 AM on January 22, 2010


God, they're nerds.

Wait, I'm the one getting a vicarious thrill listening to this on the internet. God, I'm a nerd.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:58 AM on January 22, 2010


The idea is that Krahulik, Holkins and Wheaton are not your typical nerds as described in the initial quote in the post. They are succesful, outspoken, socially confident guys who do not use D&D as some kind of retreat, or hide the fact they play it.

Listening to these Podcasts also gives a good idea of game mechanics, and how damn fun it can be to play (in a good group, as has been noted).

On the other hand, if you really don't give a crap about D&D, these are still worth a listen just because they are so damn funny.

@ChurchHatesTucker: Sorry about that, I got my own hopes up too.
posted by Rei Toei at 6:58 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I want to play D&D with Vin Diesel, Stephen Colbert, Jon Steward, and Judi Dench.

Holy shit, Judi Dench would be the best DM ever.
posted by Jon_Evil at 6:59 AM on January 22, 2010 [33 favorites]


I've been thinking about trying to salvage 4E with some kind of house rules, but the more I look at it the more I realize I'd have to chop out and replace entire subsystems in order to keep the spirit of approachability while removing the paper-WoW aspect of the game. At that point it's probably simpler to just go back to my already extant sheaf of house rules for AD&D and play it instead, but I've been unable to convince any of my friends to go that far back in time.
posted by majick


2nd E materials are cheaper than water at this point, and we're all familiar with the rules from way back when, so that's what my friends and I play. Works pretty well for us.

Also:
Fear of Girls. Fear of Girls. Fear. Of. Girls. Seriously, every D&D player I show this to is horrified by its accuracy. Every RPer knows someone like these two gentlemen.
posted by griphus


I know the guy behind Fear of Girls, and he's good people. I'm always waiting for that series to explode, but I guess it might just be one of those you-had-to-be-there things that's really only enticing to people with some dice-rolling in their backgrounds...
posted by COBRA! at 7:00 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, I eagerly await the day when us otaku get taken under the sweaty, hairy wing of this alleged "it's cool to be a nerd" phenomenon.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:01 AM on January 22, 2010


A month or two ago I walked by the big plate glass windows of the store that has gamer night once a month and stopped to take a look. I was totally tickled to see that the teenaged gamers of today are just as socially awkward and hygenically needy as they were 20 years ago. Plus ça change...
posted by Forktine at 7:01 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


"4E isn't D&D" is the funniest thing since "3E isn't D&D", which was the funniest thing since "AD&D 2nd Edition? What the hell is this crap?"

NERDS HATE CHANGE LIKE HYGIENE
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:03 AM on January 22, 2010 [12 favorites]


PARANOIA 4 LIFE
posted by daniel_charms at 7:03 AM on January 22, 2010 [13 favorites]


A month or two ago I walked by the big plate glass windows of the store that has gamer night once a month and stopped to take a look. I was totally tickled to see that the teenaged gamers of today are just as socially awkward and hygenically needy as they were 20 years ago. Plus ça change...

OTOH, now they sit in rooms with windows.
posted by DU at 7:06 AM on January 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


COBRA! - Please relate the regard and horror of myself and my friends - he did Good. I've yet to show it to any fellow RPer who doesn't watch it mouth-agape. I can't say just how inside baseball it is to someone who isn't familiar with the subject, unfortunately.
posted by griphus at 7:07 AM on January 22, 2010


Every time something like this comes up, I am compelled to point out that Charles Stross wrote parts of the Fiend Folio! Can ye believe it?

Now if we could just get the dude who drew the succubus to join MeFi...

Yeah I can nerd with the best of 'em...
posted by Mister_A at 7:07 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I listened to these podcasts and it made me really envious/sad that I'd not played D&D since the kid I knew played moved in 5th grade.

My RPG experience was limited to running some Doctor Who RPGs that I forced people to join me in and Star Wars once in college.

I then realized that my problem might have been that I wasn't cool enough for D&D.

I'm so glad that I'm mature enough to laugh at that now.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:10 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't think that Andrew O'Hehir was that scornful, really. At least he acknowledges that female gamers exist, although my little RPG circle doesn't go in for the kind bud as he seems to assume is universal; they're really much more the craft beers type.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:13 AM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Got pulled over by a cop once for speeding. He saw the 3rd edition D&D handbook in the back and just out the blue said, "I'm a cleric."

It took me a moment to realise what was happening. We ended up talking about how his DM sucked for about 10 minutes and he left me off without a ticket.
posted by ExitPursuedByBear at 7:16 AM on January 22, 2010 [98 favorites]


I think fans, nerds or no, will always have a subset resistant to changes made to something beloved to them. Like when a musician changes genre, or a sports team trades in new players, or a talk show host gets moved to a new time slot. Result = fans rage. Just like in D&D.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:16 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


[Krahulik and Holkins] are succesful, outspoken, socially confident guys who do not use D&D as some kind of retreat, or hide the fact they play it.

Successful and outspoken I grant you. The guys have a freaking 401(k) plan for themselves and their employees. That's how you run a succcessful business, not how you geek out in mom's basement. I don't know how much they're bringing down every year, but I'd be shocked if it was less than I am.

But socially confident? You can't really spend more than about a week reading PA to know that isn't true. Krahulik deals with panic attacks and chronic social anxiety, for which he appears to be getting the help he needs. To say that Holkins is something of a misanthrope would be more than a minor understatement. Getting up and speaking in front of a thousand people isn't quite as intimidating when those thousand people think you're the best thing since sliced bread.

God love 'em both. I wish I could do what they do, let alone with as much style as they do it. It'd be way more fun than my job. But I still stand by the idea that the fact that you have enough people in your fringe/alternative culture to fill a convention center does not make your fringe/alternative culture mainstream. I'm not saying that like it's a bad thing. Too much value is placed on being mainstream and popular. But let's not kid ourselves by thinking we have something most other people actually want.
posted by valkyryn at 7:16 AM on January 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


I understand what you're saying there, Marisa, but you fail to consider that NEW STUFF SUCKS AND I WANT MY OLD STUFF BACK.
posted by Mister_A at 7:19 AM on January 22, 2010


It's not like the PA guys resemble Violet Beauregarde.
posted by mecran01 at 7:19 AM on January 22, 2010


Heh. I signed up to be an Enforcer this year at PAX East. Should be fun!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:19 AM on January 22, 2010


Is that a melee class, I'm guessing?
posted by Mister_A at 7:21 AM on January 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Enforcers are PAX's security staff if memory serves.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:23 AM on January 22, 2010


Do they use shields?
posted by Mister_A at 7:23 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fear of Girls. Fear of Girls. Fear. Of. Girls. Seriously, every D&D player I show this to is horrified by its accuracy. Every RPer knows someone like these two gentlemen.

Oh god, I "was" a brujah in high school. And sometimes ran around in a cloak.


:(
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:26 AM on January 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Do they use shields?

I just assumed they used Bat'leth.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:27 AM on January 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


I put on my robe and wizard hat.

Whoops, sorry, wrong window.
posted by rokusan at 7:29 AM on January 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


I actually do prefer 1ED, though I have no boiling hate for the others. Also realized I still can't master how psyonics work.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:29 AM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would wreck those dudes with my trusty lirpa.
posted by Mister_A at 7:30 AM on January 22, 2010


I really wish the gender stereotypes for D&D and other tabletop RPGs would just die already. My own gaming group is diverse gender-wise, four males and 2 females (including one who is transgendered). We're all also over 30, some have children. Our professions are what may identify us as geeks.
posted by melt away at 7:34 AM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


OTOH, now they sit in rooms with windows.

Yes, and it has been more than a decade since I have heard someone say seriously that D&D is satanic. So there has been change, and for the better.
posted by Forktine at 7:35 AM on January 22, 2010


Oh god, I "was" a brujah in high school. And sometimes ran around in a cloak.

Taking the risk of referencing your gender and bringing up the boyzone-ness of RP games - it was always more fun to RP with at least one girl in the group (regardless of relationship status or sexual orientation) than with Just Guys.
posted by griphus at 7:35 AM on January 22, 2010


Is this really the place for edition wars? Let's keep the peace, people! Grognards back down!
posted by melt away at 7:36 AM on January 22, 2010


Kind of off-topic, but every time I hear Vin Diesel speak about something he cares about, my opinion of him rises substantially

Have you seen his breakdance instructional video?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:38 AM on January 22, 2010


I really do like those podcasts, though I'm honestly a WAY better DM.

This post is missing integral information. Who is DMing? (Not that I'm not going to listen to this regardless)

Every time something like this comes up, I am compelled to point out that Charles Stross wrote parts of the Fiend Folio! Can ye believe it?

G.TF.OT. Whoah. Death knight, githyanki, githzerai, and slaad. They were all of a particular style. Nice.

Whenever they come out, I listen to them weekly while at the gym. I'm not sure what my old self would think of that, that my nerd tendencies have been reduced to listening to other people play while I work out.

Ha. It's a good idea, actually. My occasional lights-out listening is already booked up with ambient arcade sounds tracks.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:40 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


That fear of girls thing has me laughing so hard. I've never played D&D so I dont know how realistic they are, but that is funny. I did, however, play Trivial Pursuit Star Wars edition with two guys each on their own team and about 7 of us on another, and we got one turn then one of them won-we never got another turn. The guy who won was wearing a Jawa cloak.

I wish I had played D&D when I was a kid. Hey, as a girl, it would have been interesting!
posted by aacheson at 7:40 AM on January 22, 2010


Is this really the place for edition wars? Let's keep the peace, people!

No, no. Let them slag. If Unearthed Arcana can't get any love, it can at least get a lesser proportion of hate.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:41 AM on January 22, 2010


MetaFilter: "I'm a cleric."
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:42 AM on January 22, 2010


4e is totally DnD. It's as gamist as 3e was simulationist, and it took me a while to get used to, but honestly it's just as fun to play as previous editions so far and way easier to DM. It is not, however, just as fun to read 4e rulebooks. No more elaborate systems. I pine for thee, Dragon Kings, Spells and Magic, et al.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:47 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Okay, when did we vote Vin Diesel as America's Sweetheart? Not that I disagree (as a straight male, I'm a woeful judge), but I just wanted to know who would be the national Prom Queen and Prom King of this great nation.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:48 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


For those listening along, here are their character sheets.

Mike has also been sharing tidbits of the game he's running on Obsidian Portal, Twitter, and PA:

Sandbox Experiment Part 1
Sandbox Experiment Part 2
Light and Mirrors
Q&A
The Grand Tournament
Questing WoW-style

Unrelated to PA, "Patience, my dear Mordak."
posted by Loser at 7:48 AM on January 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have very fond memories of playing D&D back in the '80s.. I don't care what the people say ... I remember playing a fabulous campaign that used a map of the school and featured the teachers as a kinda semi-human evil race, with default breath weapons hahahah.
posted by Monkeymoo at 7:49 AM on January 22, 2010


Well, I pretty much played with one other girl. And we didn't really "play" so much as make up stories about our characters and pour over the guidebooks (we, like, had dice, but more because they were nifty and magical looking). Any time we'd play with dudes, we'd get frustrated because 1. They wanted to actually run a by-the-book tabletop session. 2. They would intersperse the game with creepy sexual stuff. Our presence seemed to not have any effect at all on the boyzoneness, but who knows? Maybe it would have been that much worse without it.

This was all with Vampire, though. I only played D&D once, with a cousin, years before I got into White Wolf stuff. He didn't pull any weird, like "my character's going to toss this buxom villainess' salad" crap, but maybe that's just because we were family.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:52 AM on January 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


I am compelled to point out that Charles Stross wrote parts of the Fiend Folio! Can ye believe it?

A couple of years ago, when Charlie and I were up for the Hugo together, I was talking to a friend of mine about the other nominees and their work. When I mentioned Charlie's novels, I got nothing but a polite blank look from him. Then I casually tossed out "oh, and he did some work in the D&D Fiend Folio."

Immediately my friend was interested "Yeah? Like what?"

"Well, like whatever it was you call that thing on the cover."

"YOU KNOW THE GUY WHO INVENTED THE GITHYANKI?!?!" My friend exclaimed, and then collapsed into a puddle of nerdsquee.

Which just goes to show, uh, something.
posted by jscalzi at 7:53 AM on January 22, 2010 [49 favorites]


The whole "Gamers are scared of girls" thing took me a while to grasp, because nearly all of my early gaming was female-dominated White Wolf games. My first GMs were girls; I co-GMed a Changeling game with the girl I was crushing on; my first college D&D campaign was GMed by an improbably attractive woman. Past seventh grade, I don't think I've played in a game with more than three players without at least one being female. Maybe I'm special?
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:54 AM on January 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


I wish I had played D&D when I was a kid.

I, an (ostensible) adult play D&D every Sunday night with my friends who are also (ostensibly) adults. Honestly, while we can't go for 12-hour-long marathon sessions like we used to (7pm - 10pm is the standard,) it's still a lot of fun and everyone looks forward to it - when else can a bunch of people sit around and actively use their imaginations for a few hours? Go! Get the rulebooks! Find some people! Play!
posted by griphus at 7:54 AM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


it was always more fun to RP with at least one girl in the group (regardless of relationship status or sexual orientation) than with Just Guys.

It was always more fun for me back in the day on the rare occasions when there were two of us female people. But now I've played in online groups that are (almost) all girl, and I'd rather play mixed than single-sex in general.

D&D isn't my particular brand of roleplay nerdity any more but I'm not sorry to get this kind of mainstream exposure for my people. On the other hand, I long ago decided that, while I recognize that any hobby can be boring for people not involved in it, anybody I needed to actively conceal my roleplaying nerdery from wasn't someone I needed to put up with.

Because, really, people who are baseball statistic nerds are less nerdier than I am?
posted by immlass at 7:54 AM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Believe it or not, not just nerds played RPG's, at least back in the mid-1980's. I only dabbled a bit myself, but, in high school there were definitely a few D&Ders in the metal/stoner crowd I hung with. Must be all the swords and death and shit.
posted by jonmc at 7:57 AM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Believe it or not, not just nerds played RPG's, at least back in the mid-1980's. I only dabbled a bit myself, but, in high school there were definitely a few D&Ders in the metal/stoner crowd I hung with. Must be all the swords and death and shit.
posted by jonmc


The apex of the best television show ever features a metal/stoner dude sitting down with some nerds to play D&D...

Carlos the Dwarf 4eva
posted by COBRA! at 8:01 AM on January 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


"2nd E materials are cheaper than water at this point"

Because 2E is awful.

Anyway, yeah, edition wars are silly. AD&D rules and all other drool, or something. To tell the truth, I've been pretty dissatisfied with D&D as a game for a long, long time. We had made huge systematic changes back in the 80s, most of which didn't get ported forward as the game went progressively further afield. 2E had all this cool stuff added, but layered even more Rules Lawyer garbage and unnecessary complexity. 3E continued the tradition, with 3.5 really only being enough of a solution to beat back the worst of the nerd hatred.

4E, though, zounds! I love the idea of making the game simpler and more approachable. I love the idea of reducing differentiation between class mechanics. I hate, hate, hate the ability mechanics and the "miniatures combat" crap left over from 3.5E. It's like they had this brilliant idea to revitalize the game, but then decided to turn it in to a merchandising opportunity instead.
posted by majick at 8:02 AM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


> "YOU KNOW THE GUY WHO INVENTED THE GITHYANKI?!?!"

Heh. I've long since lost track of my AD&D books, but I just bought another copy of the Fiend Folio specifically because I recently heard Stross had written parts of it. My nerdery has folded back on itself.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:03 AM on January 22, 2010


Any time we'd play with dudes, we'd get frustrated because 1. They wanted to actually run a by-the-book tabletop session.

...because nearly all of my early gaming was female-dominated White Wolf games.

I've noticed this divide as well. Almost every girl I've met who RPs got into it through plot- and interaction/character development-driven White Wolf games, whereas the guys entered it through tabletop-combat centered D&D. Is it a socialization thing?

Personally, I am find myself bored by the lack of structure in White Wolf games - maybe it's the lack of a good GM, but I and my male friends tend to RP for the wargaming part (although I couldn't do something with no dynamic plot like 40K.)
posted by griphus at 8:03 AM on January 22, 2010


COBRA! - My entrance into the world of D&D was because of that episode! I'd never seen an actual depiction of D&D before and right after it aired a buddy of mine and I started my school's D&D club.
posted by griphus at 8:04 AM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


> Our presence seemed to not have any effect at all on the boyzoneness, but who knows? Maybe it would have been that much worse without it.

I DM'd more or less the same group of guys for five years, and they never, ever got tired of making a beeline for the barmaid and attempting to have sex with her every time they entered a tavern. Eventually I made sure that all tavern employees were male.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:06 AM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Tomorrowful - maybe I'm special too? I was introduced to D&D and other tabletop RPGs by my best friend Jessica in high school. My gaming groups over the years have always included at least one other woman besides myself, and I have sat at all-female gaming groups.
Yes, I know some social awkward gamers, and the vast majority of us are 'geeks/nerds/whathaveyou', but we are all also employed, many of us are married or in long=term partnerships (where both partners play), and some have kids. Some are introducing said kids to D&D.
I've only met the Fear of Girls style gamers at large cons. They definately are not the 'typical' gamer in my social circle.
posted by sandraregina at 8:10 AM on January 22, 2010


I DM'd more or less the same group of guys for five years, and they never, ever got tired of making a beeline for the barmaid and attempting to have sex with her every time they entered a tavern. Eventually I made sure that all tavern employees were male.

I don't know if that would have helped with the suave bisexual raver dudes who were into playing Vampire with us.

[NOT SUAVE BISEXUAL RAVER-IST]
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:14 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I tended to be the the token female for most of my pen and paper games, but it wasn't really all the infrequent that there would be another (as a caveat though I was at a mostly male (engineering/science) college so our group make up likely had more to do with that than other things). While I've no doubt that there were a few groups out there more like the typical nerd stereotype, most of the games I played in didn't really fit that profile. However, our shadowrun groups probably were exactly the sort of people you'd expect to play shadowrun.

Obligatory woo THAC0! comments... (though I don't find 4th ed that bad after some small modification) highly recommend hackmaster to all the AD&D fans out there.
posted by Feantari at 8:16 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


There is a new(ish) RPG based in the 40k universe griphus. I don't know anything about it, I just saw it when I ventured into the local game store looking for Space Hulk.

It's good to hear that they're trying to streamline D&D a bit. The only post high school games I ever played involved lots of beer and the simplest rules we could find (the mid 80s basic boxed set IIRC.) We had fun, but not the same kind as when we really nerded out playing back in the day.
posted by ecurtz at 8:17 AM on January 22, 2010




I don't know if that would have helped with the suave bisexual raver dudes who were into playing Vampire with us.

Toreadors can be paralyzed by glowsticks and music that goes deedeedee deedeedee deedeedee
posted by kid ichorous at 8:21 AM on January 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


It sounds like you and I ran with very different crowds, PhoB.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:29 AM on January 22, 2010


Eh, dorks are dorks, no matter what their trappings!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:32 AM on January 22, 2010


Believe it or not, not just nerds played RPG's, at least back in the mid-1980's. I only dabbled a bit myself, but, in high school there were definitely a few D&Ders in the metal/stoner crowd I hung with.

These are also nerds.
posted by LordSludge at 8:38 AM on January 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Small quibble on the FPP: nerds are not generally "self-deprecating"; they are "other-deprecated".
posted by LordSludge at 8:42 AM on January 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Can't we just be nerds? Not, like, cool nerds? I hate that I used to an outsider, and then being an outsider was cool, but I'm not cool, so now I'm not even an outsider. I'm an out-outsider.

Going to a nerdy college, I always thought it was funny how some of the high school nerds who played D&D would get to school and sort of float to the top of the nerd hierarchy, rejecting their D&D past in the process.
posted by muddgirl at 8:52 AM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


The people who I played D&D with back in the eighties were mostly deadheads so the villages and kingdoms tended to have names like Fenario, Dark Hollow and Terrapin. But then I guess that deadheadism is just another brand of geekdom.
posted by octothorpe at 8:59 AM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


The key to any gaming system is copious house rules to fix or avoid whatever you don't like. Fun should be the primary driver and if anything is significantly getting in the way of that, it should go. My group has been on 3.5 for some years now (haven't even looked at 4e myself, but they didn't like it). Best game I've ever played though, and I still pine for it. Was a mashup of all the White Wolf World of Darkness into one game, in which we played ourselves turned into variously inept levels of supernatural creature. (We called it "We Suck" because our stats were so mediocre when we made them realistic to ourselves, rather than granting the usual number of points and spreading them throughout). For me, the emotion and realism of that game was the deepest because it was so much more involving to have YOU get shot or stabbed, or betrayed, than Tordek the Barbarian or whatever. Maybe we'd get that same effect in D&D if we went all out and borderline LARPd i, but remaining in character when you're playing yourself is remarkably easy. Also seeing how you imagine yourself turning out after years spent as a lonely violent demon hunting Were-Raven is surprisingly compelling stuff.
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:02 AM on January 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


Oh my god this place smells like Cool Ranch Doritos.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:16 AM on January 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


I was a late bloomer, D&D wise. As far as I know, nobody at my high school played, though they may just have been reclusive. When I got to college I met a good friend who DM'd all through H.S., and he got a game going that we played monthly for about 3.5 years. It was fantastic.

Anybody want to get a Denver game together?
posted by craven_morhead at 9:17 AM on January 22, 2010


These podcasts are so awesome.
posted by Catbunny at 9:19 AM on January 22, 2010


To all the people making "haha, nerd!" jokes, you do realize those were old, like, before I was born, don't you?
posted by Zalzidrax at 9:26 AM on January 22, 2010


To all the people making "haha, nerd!" jokes, you do realize those were old, like, before I was born, don't you?
posted by Zalzidrax


When you were born? You mean the last time you saw a woman's... uhh... nevermind.
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:32 AM on January 22, 2010


I PUT ON MY ROBE AND WIZARD HAT!
posted by loquacious at 9:33 AM on January 22, 2010


Not to drag the Edition wars back out, but can I ask a really stupid question: if they've gotten rid of Thac0, how the hell do you hit things?
posted by COBRA! at 9:38 AM on January 22, 2010


I PUT ON MY ROBE AND WIZARD HAT!

You and rokusan should hang out sometime.
posted by zamboni at 9:41 AM on January 22, 2010


The PA guys do that thing where they trick you into believing you're all friends over the interwebs pretty well but my beef with 4th ed is that it seems like a miniatures games and not s role-playing game.

My wife gets annoyed by almost any mention of a) MetaFilter, b) D&D (I played as a teenager), c) science fiction and/or d) internet in-jokes/memes.

Holy shit, we're married to the same woman! I gotta have a word with my wife about this.

That's cool. Let me know when you're done spending two hours making THAC0-related calculations and I'll save my witty reply for then.

They're called tables. You cross-reference them. Real D&D players do no math. They just cross-reference several dozen tables.
posted by GuyZero at 9:43 AM on January 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


For 3.5, rather than THAC0, everything is positive, which just makes things less confusing.

Say my armor class is 18 because I'm a mage with a +2 dex modifier, shield cast, and mage armor cast (+4 ac each), plus the base AC of 10.

Therefore to hit me, it requires that your roll + modifiers >=18 to hit. So if my base attack bonus + strength mod + roll = 18 or above, take some damage.

It's not that different really, just no longer involves subtraction.
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:45 AM on January 22, 2010


Would have been nice if I did that math right, since that math obviously meant my AC should have been 20, not 18. Hah.
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:49 AM on January 22, 2010


I rather liked 3.5; easy math for the most part.
posted by craven_morhead at 9:50 AM on January 22, 2010


Also 3.5 D&D Armor Classes teach you a valuable lesson: touching people is usually pretty easy.
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:51 AM on January 22, 2010


Considering the mass appeal of video games (WoW, especially,) there's nothing preventing D&D from eventually stumbling into Cool territory.

People who are obsessed with playing games are obsessed with following frivolous rules, not breaking real-world rules. They are never going to be cool in the way early punks (not the costumed and ossified later models) could be cool.

But you can stop worrying about it. You don't have to be cool. Some of the best and happiest people in the world are not cool. You can be accepted, admired, and even loved, without being cool.
posted by pracowity at 10:05 AM on January 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


> the fact that you have enough people in your fringe/alternative culture to fill a convention center does not make your fringe/alternative culture mainstream.

You're not really mainstream unless people are filling convention halls for long weekends to get away from you and gather around something entirely different.
posted by ardgedee at 10:10 AM on January 22, 2010




Despite the fact that White Wolf's systems were mechanically clunky and full of holes, I think they did a good job seizing the zeitgeist of the moment and providing another opportunity for girls (and women) to find a flavor of gaming that appealed to them. Although I don't have a regular group at the moment, when I did, I definitely preferred running (or playing) with mixed-gender groups. Something about the interaction made it possible to reach for the best of all worlds - romance, action, and really solid character development.
posted by canine epigram at 10:17 AM on January 22, 2010


My occasional lights-out listening is already booked up with ambient arcade sounds tracks.

OMG I had no idea such things existed. I had no idea there was such a gaping hole in my life!
posted by painquale at 10:21 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I was a kid/teen, I was nerdy in just about every single way except being into D&D. In retrospect, I regret I wasn't. That would have been social interaction!
posted by brundlefly at 10:26 AM on January 22, 2010


I have a 4E game I've been running for about 18 months now. It's great. I had only played AD&D and a little bit of 2nd Edition, no 3rd. The graphic design of 3rd edition made me super aggro. The current design sucks too, but at least they aren't afraid of white paper.

But the character builder and the monster builder are the shiznit.
posted by georg_cantor at 10:37 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, this is where I'd post a link to my favorite website full of ridiculous and hilarious D&D quotes, but I forgot to save it before Geocities went down, so... :-(
posted by specialagentwebb at 10:43 AM on January 22, 2010


..nobody I know is interested in playing.

Yeah it is strange that in the thirty years since I played my first game, I have seen table top RPGs go from so obscure that you had to explain what they were, to accepted, to almost mainstream, to fading, to so obscure you have to explain that they are not computer games.

I know a few second-generation teenage rolepayers. One was introduced to D&D by his dad, loved it, and when he told his friends at school about it, had to field questions about what the graphics were like and what console it was on. Another was and, so far as I know, still is searching for a game but while most of his friends play World of Warcraft, none has ever played a table-top game and they seem to all view it as a step backward.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:44 AM on January 22, 2010


...had to field questions about what the graphics were like and what console it was on.

Oh that conversation. The one where you run the gamut of nerd-dom to explain what the hell it is you do.

"Wait, so you sit around and play video games by yourself on Sunday nights?"
"No. I play with my friends. And it's not a video game."
"Oh, right. You guys play cards."
"Cards? Oh, wait. No, no, that's Magic The Gathering."
"Which one is Dungeons and Dragons then?"

...and on and on.
posted by griphus at 10:55 AM on January 22, 2010


I was all set to just sit this thread out and not do any cornflake-pissing, but....

Pope Guilty: "4E isn't D&D" is the funniest thing since "3E isn't D&D", which was the funniest thing since "AD&D 2nd Edition? What the hell is this crap?"

Gygax himself had been known to say 3E isn't D&D, and if anyone morally had the right to say that (as opposed to legally), it was him. And it is worth nothing that the fact that each of these groups said this doesn't detract from the fact that they were all right. Or that the "4E isn't D&D" folks weren't more right than the previous groups.

Marisa: I think fans, nerds or no, will always have a subset resistant to changes made to something beloved to them. Like when a musician changes genre, or a sports team trades in new players, or a talk show host gets moved to a new time slot. Result = fans rage. Just like in D&D.

The existence of an obvious similarity between two things does not imply that the similarity between them must extend deeper than that.

I think part of the disconnect here is from some folk treating all roleplaying games as, essentially, D&D. I look at 4E's rules and compare them to 1E and fail to see any similarities other than superficial ones. At this point it bears about as much resemblance to the original rules as Call of Cthulhu does, broadly the same kind of thing, but in the details quite different. Brand identification is the only thing that continues to tie 4E with classic real D&D.

I actually do prefer 1ED, though I have no boiling hate for the others. Also realized I still can't master how psyonics work.

I'd suggest looking into the versions of the game pre-1E, before the proliferation of rule hacks and options made the game too complicated for anyone other than super-nerds and yes I realize the irony of me saying that thank you. 1974 D&D took off in the mainstream culture, for that brief shining moment, for a reason. Trying to figure out that reason is a big part of what interests me about the game, but part of it was that it was a lot simpler. It was also a lot more vaguely defined.

mahjik: 4th Ed? Really? If I want to stand around watching cooldowns I'll just play World of Warcraft, thanks.

This.

4E, though, zounds! I love the idea of making the game simpler and more approachable. I love the idea of reducing differentiation between class mechanics. I hate, hate, hate the ability mechanics and the "miniatures combat" crap left over from 3.5E. It's like they had this brilliant idea to revitalize the game, but then decided to turn it in to a merchandising opportunity instead.

Extra this. I also personally hate the adventure organization and everything-is-a-power system. Also how EVERYTHING now relates to the combat miniatures play.

Those of you who are taking the "can't we all just get along" tack have a point, but over time, partly rationally I think but also partly as the winds of time blow those who were kids in the 70s further into middle age, the 4E-ain't-D&D complaints are just going to get louder. There is still a sense that something was lost when Gygax was forced out, that we're in the alternate, lamer universe, instead of the real one where D&D never got stolen away. Of course 1E also has its own problems, and if Gygax had remained in charge it probably would have gotten ruined in a completely different way. Some say it was ruined before he left.

D&D has never been perfect, but there was once a time when its imperfections seemed more to be caused by the failings of people than corporations.
posted by JHarris at 10:57 AM on January 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


...most of his friends play World of Warcraft, none has ever played a table-top game and they seem to all view it as a step backward.

It was about time someone brought this up and made me sad and judgmental. I can't help but have a dismissive attitude toward WoW because of how much D&D helped me go from asocial and avoidant to being a Team Player without having to, y'know, join a (godforbid) sport or something. Certainly WoW helps, but there's a distinct lack of in-person interaction, of looking someone in the eye, of determining body language, etc. etc. and it is a terrible loss. I see WoW players at the game shop all the time and immediately remember why I gave up MUDs for tabletop. And then I feel like a dick for judging them like people dismissive of gaming altogether probably judge my friends and myself.
posted by griphus at 11:06 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


... while most of his friends play World of Warcraft, none has ever played a table-top game and they seem to all view it as a step backward.

Apparently so did Wizards of the Coast, which is why 4e is pretty much WoW on paper.
posted by papercake at 11:08 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


So *draaaag* you're one of those *puff* nerds, huh? You guys are all into the D&D and dragons and shit?

That's cool.

Hey, you should come out with us tonight. We stole this bottle of Beam from Joe's dad's garage stash, and we're gonna get wasted and then go watch that new Return Of The Jedi movie. Wanna come?

*leans against back wall of school, arches eyebrow*
posted by koeselitz at 11:09 AM on January 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


Gygax himself had been known to say 3E isn't D&D, and if anyone morally had the right to say that (as opposed to legally), it was him. And it is worth nothing that the fact that each of these groups said this doesn't detract from the fact that they were all right. Or that the "4E isn't D&D" folks weren't more right than the previous groups.

Gygax was a hardcore gamist and generally not a fan of what we think of, these days, as roleplaying. Which isn't surprising, given his roots in wargaming, but I'd like to think that we've moved beyond him.

And seriously, most of the people involved in alt cultures- metalheads, punks, goths, ravers, whatever- that I've encountered have generally been huge nerds that loved roleplaying games of one stripe or another.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:09 AM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Gygax himself had been known to say 3E isn't D&D

Which makes sense. To use a broad brush, the D&D of Gygax was the D&D of wargamers. The D&D of today is the D&D of MMORPGers. Each group approaches the idea of the RPG differently.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:16 AM on January 22, 2010


One of the most mind-boggling moments for me was on the cusp of the release of 3.5 when I was talking with someone in a game store about the new edition. The idea that people were treating spells like toggles or powers with cool downs amazed me. I never really played any MMORPG and had never thought about using cleric spells like Bull's Strength as some sort of buff.

Hell, I didn't know what a buff was, except naked.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:19 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gygax himself had been known to say 3E isn't D&D, and if anyone morally had the right to say that (as opposed to legally), it was him.

What D&D is and isn't, outside of "fantasy tabletop role playing game" is the very definition of a social construct. Gygax's opinion on it is no more valid than any other D&D player and while I deeply respect the man he has absolutely no authority over what D&D is. It has long, long been out of his hands.
posted by griphus at 11:20 AM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ok, I've never played 4th edition D&D and I only played a little 3rd, but I really don't understand the nerd hate towards the two systems. 3rd edition wasn't perfect but it went a long way towards focusing the ruleset towards the way most people play the game. Admit it, most people play D&D as a combat game with some role playing on the side. Even in games that have significant story and character development, it's rare to have a session where most of the time isn't spent in combat or combat prep. And honestly, if you are in a group where that's not true, you group would probably be better served playing a different game system.

4th edition was really just a continuation of that process. It's made the game more focused, yes, but that's a good thing. If you don't like the style that 4th edition caters to, there's 1000s of other role playing games out there. Even once you throw out Sturgeon's 90% that's still a lot to chose from.
posted by aspo at 11:22 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


...if anyone morally had the right to say that...

*cough DaveArneson cough*

Gary's quick moves to claim ownership and push out fellow contributors early doesn't say much in terms of "moral rights" to me. That others have bought the property and taken control with the goals of reaching a more mainstream audience is an all-too-fitting legacy.

In the meanwhile, it's not like you can't still play whatever edition, version, or set of rules you want, and, that there aren't people still making adventures or supplemental material for such things, especially with the retro-movement.

But can we drop the "X isn't real D&D/roleplaying/whatever”? I mean, this ain't Highlander, you can have more than one type of game in this hobby.
posted by yeloson at 11:25 AM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I currently DM two games a week. Both now use the new Pathfinder system, which is a streamlined, updated version of the 3.5 rule set. Although I'd rather be using a much older system (B/X or BECMI Dungeons & Dragons are still my favorites, never did cotton much to AD&D), my players like the fiddly bits of 3.75 and players always tend to dictate which system I'll use. Plus, with a nominal amount of jiggery-pokery, I can use all the old 3.5 books with the new system.

We tried some play using 4th Edition when it came out, and it left an unanimously sour taste in our mouths. Combat played out like Calvinball chess with all the exception based design, and player's quickly hacked synergistic uses of there powers to deal with foes as what seemed like a poor replacement for old-school "teamwork." From a mechanical standpoint, all characters seemed equal, but everyone agreed that this was primarily due to the fact that each class had powers that were practically identical when the serial numbers and flavor text were filed off. The tactical arms race was not fun from a DM standpoint. I couldn't help feeling that I'd have to be bothered to learn all the neat "shifting" and "when this happens, do this" exceptions for foes just to keep combat tactically challenging for the players, aggravating the old "Antagonistic DM" problem.

The Power Gamers didn't feel unique enough to shine, the Strategists quickly mastered the power system and were left unfulfilled by the lack of new challenges, and the Narratavist/Roleplayers just sat back and shook their heads waiting for the next "Skill Challenge" for an opportunity to contribute something, anything to the table. I'm sure with a few games under our belt, a happy medium would have been obtained, but due to the balance fetish inherent in the system, most of the DM's freedom seemed too highly constrained anyway. Treasure parcels, rigid encounter structuring, and stat arrays put the kibosh on my creativity, and don't get me started on "melting down magic items for XP to upgrade/make new items."

After Wizards PDF debacle (pulling all their legacy system PDFs from online stores), I've stopped giving them money anyway.
posted by ktrey at 11:25 AM on January 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


If you don't like the style that 4th edition caters to, there's 1000s of other role playing games out there.

While I agree with some of your points, I take issue with this. It's like having a favorite band. A band you loved as a kid and a band you continue to love. And then they change their sound and you hate it. The point isn't that you can't play the game you want to play or listen to the band you want to listen to; it's not like the old CDs or 3rd ed. books disintegrated. The problem is that this thing that you have such an attachment to has been ruined forever and what was once an active interest with a flow of new content is now just an artifact, a relic. And the replacement inherently sucks.
posted by griphus at 11:28 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


4th Ed? Really? If I want to stand around watching cooldowns I'll just play World of Warcraft, thanks.

I see the point, but my memories of original Advanced D&D with all the trimmings wound up with things like rolling percentile dice to determine my success opening a door as determined by the handle-material subtable of the doorhandle-type subtable of the door-type subtable of the type-of-portal subtable of the portal-opening-by-character-class subtable of the general-opening-things-by-race subtable of the opening things subtable of the manipulation table as determined by (DEX+WIS/2) - (enc. +1 for S classes).

The best time I've had playing D&D in years was with friends when we busted out the old red box and ran a Cleric, and Elf and a Dwarf through the Palace of the Silver Princess. There was considerably more beer present than there was when I was eight years old, but it was just as fun as I remembered, and playing the stripped-down-to-nothing basic rules actually gave us more latitude for roleplaying, and we were all amazed by how easy it is to die in old-school basic D&D.
posted by Shepherd at 11:29 AM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


aspo: "Ok, I've never played 4th edition D&D and I only played a little 3rd, but I really don't understand the nerd hate towards the two systems."

The RPG Edition Loyalist class is balanced to use "sense of perspective" as a dump stat.
posted by Drastic at 11:31 AM on January 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


ktrey: NSFW - Playing D&D With Porn Stars

Lest everyone miss it - and since I know how unlikely gamers are to click on a link involving 'porn stars' - let me just say: this blog is awesome. She hooked me with the link to the awesome Raymond Chandler / Ian Fleming conversation (!) but I stayed for the great DMing theory and hilarious observations:
Someone e-mailed me that they found a forum where I am despised and it is openly presumed that I harbor immature and contemptibly deviant sexual fantasies. Not because I am in porn, or because I frequently and loudly disparage both organized and disorganized religion, not because of my extremist political views or my terrible haircut, or even because I play D&D--but because--dig this--I play a different edition of D&D than the people in the forum...

Should we go to the porn awards? No, the awards are boring. Excruciatingly boring and long. And there is horrible mainstream smooved-out live hip-hop every time... It's too late for the Pinball Museum. Bowling? Arcade? Strippers? There's an orgy party but Mandy's feeling too sick for that. Mandy's asthma makes it hard to do anything here since everybody smokes all the time.

I have no idea. I get back to the room.

"So what are we doing, ladies?"

"We're rolling up new characters."
I don't know why I find that so awesome, but I do.
posted by koeselitz at 11:36 AM on January 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


He. Sorry. Blog written by a he.
posted by koeselitz at 11:40 AM on January 22, 2010


> Gygax was a hardcore gamist and generally not a fan of what we think of, these days, as roleplaying. Which isn't surprising, given his roots in wargaming, but I'd like to think that we've moved beyond him.

We're never going to "move beyond him" since he provided one side of the conversation. David Arneson provided the other. All of us are walking somewhere in middle, usually weaving (OK, the Warhammer guys are still on the other side of Gygax. They're only overhearing the conversation, anyway.)

As was pointed out above, there's various degrees of love/frustration with White Wolf/TSR(shut up. I don't know who WotC are) and that's largely because of the above distinction (broad strokes here, but you get my point.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:53 AM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, so now you're dissing Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying?
posted by Artw at 11:56 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess that deadheadism is just another brand of geekdom.

Sure as hell was back in the Taper's Pit!
posted by mikelieman at 11:56 AM on January 22, 2010


A short D&D game is one of the best ways to keep entertained during a flight. I remember one particular flight from Vancouver to Toronto that went by really fast because we were busy raiding an orc dungeons. Being a post 9-11 flight it also produced the quote "I roll to attack the flight attendant with my concealed +1 dagger."
posted by Pseudology at 11:58 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Art, let's not kid around - Warhammer means Warhammer [40K]?. WFRP is its sad little brother who died in his crib before his first birthday.

*snif*
posted by GuyZero at 11:59 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Being a post 9-11 flight it also produced the quote "I roll to attack the flight attendant with my concealed +1 dagger."

Being a post-9/11 flight, I'm surprised they let you onto the Internet between waterboardings.
posted by griphus at 12:00 PM on January 22, 2010


Unless posted very carefully, Metafilter D&D threads usually become a proxy race war.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:05 PM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just don't pray on the airplane is all...
posted by Mister_A at 12:06 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Games Workshop somehow manages to take the most horrifying and terrible worlds and scenarios and make them fucking awesome, and for that I will always love them, even if I have never owned and likely will never own any miniatures that aren't Mageknight.

...I miss Mageknight sometimes.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:06 PM on January 22, 2010


Unless posted very carefully, Metafilter D&D threads usually become a proxy race war.

Proxy Moxes, not Races!
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:07 PM on January 22, 2010


Artw: "Oh, so now you're dissing Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying?"

This reminds me! There are WFRP specific-edition loyalists who make the D&D edition fights look like adorable kittens pawing each other. (A smaller marketshare means the echo chambers are likewise smaller, and therefore louder inside.) One of my regular gaming buddies since college days is the lead designer of Fantasy Flight Games' WFRP 3rd Edition, and there are segments that pretty much view him as the Antichrist. When he's DMing a roughly-monthly D&D 4th game, we all make sure to remind him of that.

"Bear hands" is also a phrase in frequent play, due to a bit of anonymous forum slagging about one of the various presentations he gave at some convention in the year-odd up to the edition's printing. About how he cut a terrifying figure, looking like some massive ex-con who could "tear you apart with his bear hands." Sic., obviously. Apparently in the Fantasy Flight offices following that, there were a lot of coworkers walking around his desk imitating bears, going "rawr! rawr!" and pawing at the air.

That was also the inspiration behind the creation of this particular card in their CCG.
posted by Drastic at 12:07 PM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


OMG I had no idea such things existed. I had no idea there was such a gaping hole in my life!

I went from thinking it was cute, to interesting, to addictive, to nearly mandatory. I can't, as they say, "drive heavy machinery" while listening to it because I just space completely out. All I know is, when I turn the lights off, pull those big-ass headphones on and listen, I get this huge smile and it doesn't leave my face till I turn it off. Or I fall asleep. Probably.

It's too late for the Pinball Museum. Bowling? Arcade? Strippers?
..."We're rolling up new characters."


So... apparently I need to hang out with porn stars more. Huh.

high school there were definitely a few D&Ders in the metal/stoner crowd I hung with

I thought this was the modern day's knight's hospitality. Stoners and metalheads have a standing invitation to any D&D table (and are usually already present).
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:08 PM on January 22, 2010


Sigh. I'm really going to try to avoid dragging this out much longer guys....

Pope Guilty: Gygax was a hardcore gamist and generally not a fan of what we think of, these days, as roleplaying. Which isn't surprising, given his roots in wargaming, but I'd like to think that we've moved beyond him.

Much of my problem with 4E comes from its explicit embrace of wargaming, in an ultra-gamish, MMORPG-inspired way, above everything else. I see little roleplaying in it.

(Hearing people throw around terms like gamist and simulationist in this thread is disconcerting. I most often hear Gygax described as a simulationist, actually, and I think moving away from that was bad. I don't actually like those terms in general, but recognize that the are useful for description.)

To use a broad brush, the D&D of Gygax was the D&D of wargamers. The D&D of today is the D&D of MMORPGers. Each group approaches the idea of the RPG differently.

RPGs != D&D. Other role-playing games will continue to roll along regardless of what happens to Dungeons & Dragons, and most of them seem to be little affected by HATEHATEHATE Hasbro's attempts to trendify D&D.

And speaking as someone who first got involved with MMOs over twenty years ago, why would someone try to bring those concepts to a tabletop game? And why would Hasbro do so by taking the very worst parts of MMOs and remaking the original game, the one that originally inspired most of them, in their image?

I never really played any MMORPG and had never thought about using cleric spells like Bull's Strength as some sort of buff.

I always hated that terminology. I must seem like a kind of automated hating machine at this point.

aspo: 3rd edition wasn't perfect but it went a long way towards focusing the ruleset towards the way most people play the game. [...] And honestly, if you are in a group where that's not true, you group would probably be better served playing a different game system.

There is some truth to this, definitely. I love Paranoia and Call of Cthulhu. I still hate 4E though. There is one thing that was in older versions of D&D that tends to get deprecated these days and that is what might be termed the exploration metagame. A lot of what D&D had for roleplaying took place in that. I'd like a game that had a lot more to do with that over actual combat.
posted by JHarris at 12:09 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


In the ten and a half months since I asked this question over here, I have gone from being a vitrual TTG virgin (I played a little AD&D when I was, like, 13, but I don't remember any of the specifics except for the insane complexity of doing anything at all) to playing once or twice a week on many different systems. I'm far from an expert, but I also don't have a lot of nostalgic baggage bundled up with any one system. This past year I've played 3.5, 4e, Call of Cthulhu, Vampire, Changeling, Exalted, Paranoia, and I'm sure some others that I'm not remembering right now.

Here's the thing - this system loyalty and RUINED FOREVER stuff makes zero sense. It is some bullshit. The old editions aren't obsolete or anything, and the new ones can be good at different things. 3.5 is very intuitive to me, for instance, but my gf prefers 4e because she's got a "less talk more stabbing" approach to the game. Also, 4e is fantastic for one-offs and things of that nature, and is essentially a gateway drug for potential gamers. 4e doesn't ruin anything that came before it, but it does probably bring some people into the larger fold who might not have played otherwise.

And yeah, Paranoia 4 Life. Jesus, in my game on Monday I was on my third clone by the time we reached R&D.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:12 PM on January 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


D&D4E is totally D&D. It's way influenced by WoW - "Elf" used to be a character class, and now even the humanlike elves and dwarves are outnumbered by the more monster-ish races. Characters are also much more defined by their combat roles (which is both a wargaming thing and a MMORPG thing) and noncombat activity and actual roleplaying are streamlined to the point that they might as well be freeform. And that's great, if that's the sort of game you want to play. There's nothing wrong with a good dungeon crawl, even if it's not my preferred kind of game.

When I compare D&D4E to, say, the new "World of Darkness" Mage book, I can really see the difference between "this is not to my taste" and "holy cow, what an unplayable crock of excrement."

I suppose I'd be more grar about it if I hadn't defected to other systems some two decades ago. Actually, though I sat in on some D&D in high school, my first real games were Ars Magica and Call of Cthulhu, so I never formed the deep attachment in the first place. High Fantasy/Sword and Sorcery aren't really my preferred systems anyway. Some time in my early gaming, I got into Champions, and I've mostly played and run HERO System since. (Well, ok, I ran a Vampire LARP for several years in there, too.)

The hobby still has notably male (and white) demographic. (This shot of folks in the GenCon Exhibit Hall is representative.) There's certainly more diversity than I saw twenty years ago. Just based on local and national gaming conventions, I've gone from rarely sharing a table with another woman to occasionally running for a table of all women (the game in question is titled "Attack of the Beautiful Princesses" though, which helps.) I'm still quite often the only woman at the table, though and even more often the only non-spouse woman at the table.
posted by Karmakaze at 12:15 PM on January 22, 2010


Well JHarris, the way I DM'd AD&D it was definitely as much about the "exploration metagame" as about the dice. Along those lines, I often set up scenarios where people could figure something out that would help them in the ensuing battle somehow. Not figuring it out would make the battle harder, but not impossible to win for a properly equipped party.

But a lot of that came about because I really enjoyed creating my own dungeons/encounters/creatures. I get that not everyone wants to, or can, do it that way, but it was really fun for me and my buddies.
posted by Mister_A at 12:16 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


To this day I still chuckle about a classic AD&D moment from my youth.

Sitting in lawn chairs around the ping pong table in my garage we tied up lowered our much younger neighbour's character through a trap door. The DM tells him that he sees 15 orcs heading right for him and he can't move because he is tied up and then asks him "What do you do?"

His reply, delivered totally deadpan, is "I remain calm".

Not the best at AD&D but on that day the kid killed every one in the room with a real life roll of 20.
posted by srboisvert at 12:16 PM on January 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


He didn't pull any weird, like "my character's going to toss this buxom villainess' salad" crap

WHAT

also, re:

I've noticed this divide as well. Almost every girl I've met who RPs got into it through plot- and interaction/character development-driven White Wolf games, whereas the guys entered it through tabletop-combat centered D&D. Is it a socialization thing?

Personally, I am find myself bored by the lack of structure in White Wolf games - maybe it's the lack of a good GM, but I and my male friends tend to RP for the wargaming part (although I couldn't do something with no dynamic plot like 40K.)


I'm a dude and the wargaming end of things always ends up pissing me off because it takes so bloody long to get anything done. In the non-fighty parts, if someone wants to do something, they speak up, and if you don't speak up it's assumed your character's not doing anything of consequence. In the fighty bits, your DM's got to go through everybody at the table and check what they're doing each turn plus time for dice rolling and arithmetic etc. That's one thing I certainly don't miss in the shift to doing most all my "rpg-ing" in vidgames these days.
posted by juv3nal at 12:21 PM on January 22, 2010


Here's the thing - this system loyalty and RUINED FOREVER stuff makes zero sense.

It makes sense in an emotional/nostalgic context. For a lot of lifelong D&D (or any other single system) players, Edition X was what got them out of the house, what made them friends, etc. etc. System loyalty rarely has anything to do with believing that the Xth Edition ruleset is the Ten Commandments, even though that's what may be the claim. It's not the D&D the game that's ruined forever, but their D&D that is evaporating.
posted by griphus at 12:24 PM on January 22, 2010


This seems like a good time to plug one of my old posts.
posted by Mister_A at 12:29 PM on January 22, 2010


Wonder if one could use Google Wave as a D&D platform....

Hmmmmmmm...
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:32 PM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


fair enough, griphus. I guess my experience so far has been that of people digging up whichever books they need for whatever game they feel like running, so it becomes more like choosing Coke or Sprite than, say, having to update to Windows Vista to remain compatible with everyone else. On the wiki page about the different D&D Editions, it mentions how fans were pissed off at WotC for bringing 4e out so quickly on the heels of 3.5, and my thought is, "they know that they're still allowed to play 3.5, right? This isn't a mandatory changeover or anything."
posted by Navelgazer at 12:32 PM on January 22, 2010


...how fans were pissed off at WotC for bringing 4e out so quickly on the heels of 3.5, and my thought is, "they know that they're still allowed to play 3.5, right? This isn't a mandatory changeover or anything."

Well, the problem is that after X drops, X-1 becomes phased out and WotC stops releasing original content for it. They're certainly allowed to play it and new third party content will keep coming out, but new edition signals the end of new content. Yeah, you'll probably never get through every X-1 book, but the feeling of the parent company disowning your edition burns.
posted by griphus at 12:37 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


BitterOldPunk - It can! There's already a dice-rolling plugin and everything. I doubt it will be much time until they hack up some sort of mapping system in it.
posted by griphus at 12:39 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thread request: can we push this thing to 1000+ comments? Because for those of us not currently playing, reading about it is the next best thing.

Perhaps then we could have more threads on this subject. Say, weekly? Sundays till midnight? I'll make popcorn...
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:59 PM on January 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Because for those of us not currently playing, reading about it is the next best thing.

How about both?

Durn, you enter the RP thread. It is dark and smells of sweat. You hear what may be trolls. Roll a listen check.
posted by griphus at 1:04 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Roll a listen check.

More like SAN check, amirite?
posted by GuyZero at 1:04 PM on January 22, 2010


>roll for Detect Magic, 1d20.

An 8. Guess I better hope for the best!

>lights torch.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:07 PM on January 22, 2010


Your torch illuminates the room revealing a foot-wide section of the wall studded with Favorites. The trolls seem to have noticed the light and, by the sound of their footsteps, appear to be approaching.
posted by griphus at 1:14 PM on January 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Let's have the thief sneak up ahead and investigate.
posted by Mister_A at 1:14 PM on January 22, 2010


TOO LATE!
posted by Mister_A at 1:14 PM on January 22, 2010


Believe it or not, not just nerds played RPG's, at least back in the mid-1980's. I only dabbled a bit myself, but, in high school there were definitely a few D&Ders in the metal/stoner crowd I hung with. Must be all the swords and death and shit.

Actually - that was the one thing I liked about gaming - it typically crossed high-school clique boundaries. You had nerds, geeks, stoners and the odd "prep-type".

My last gamer group (college, mixed with high-school folks) consisted of a heavy metal quitarist (very very good), myself (nerd), an anti-American skinhead, an athletic type and various other representatives.
posted by jkaczor at 1:15 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah dammit.

>tosses Orb Of Israel/Palestine at the trolls
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:17 PM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


>tosses Orb Of Israel/Palestine at the trolls

[FearOfGirls] ...gimme a roll. [/FearOfGirls]
posted by griphus at 1:18 PM on January 22, 2010


Ugh I can't believe you wasted the Orb of Israel on those trolls. I can just smite them with my Rod of Lordly Might.*


*Actual AD&D item
posted by Mister_A at 1:24 PM on January 22, 2010


Where's the rest of our party?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:25 PM on January 22, 2010


I'm still picking spells. Is it 3 cantrips per 1st level slot or just 2? And how many cantrips for a second-level spell slot? And is this the right price for iron rations?
posted by GuyZero at 1:27 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


You two are used to RPing with more than three people? Spoiled!
posted by griphus at 1:27 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


You must gather your party before venturing forth!
posted by Splunge at 1:28 PM on January 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


Yeah, we're at the bar, where all Adventurerers meet, waiting for you, to start the Adventure. And quaffing.
posted by bonehead at 1:29 PM on January 22, 2010


Oh dammit my work day is over mom is calling me home. Someone take over as DM. You can hang on to the Manowar tape for tonight, though.
posted by griphus at 1:31 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Where's the rest of our party?

*casts Dancing Lights*

Dance, people, dance!
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:35 PM on January 22, 2010


Hey! Salon doesn't scorn D&D, just the bad movie made about it. READ THE ARTICLE!

Also, Andrew would be the first to admit he is a huge nerd.
posted by jasonsmall at 1:41 PM on January 22, 2010


I'm studying this arcane manuscript I found in the library.
posted by daniel_charms at 1:41 PM on January 22, 2010


Rations, nothing. I'm killing my food. Really should've kept the Orb of Israel/Palestine. Hey, I know, why don't we check the bar?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:41 PM on January 22, 2010


I really do like those podcasts, though I'm honestly a WAY better DM.

Wow. If that's true, then your campaigns must be super fun times for your players.

Because Chris Perkins on these podcasts is just a fantastic DM. I love listening to him. He's got a great voice, great dry presentation, just the right amount of spine to keep everybody focused without seeming bossy. He's witty and quick-witted in his response to novel ideas the players throw at him. He gives the NPC's personality without hamming it up in an annoying fashion. Don't know if he designed the campaigns or is just running something WotC published, but the encounters have been well-written and fun to play, if maybe a little uninspired and pedestrian.

So if you can do better, that is quite awesome. Wish I could play a game with you or with Chris.
posted by straight at 1:42 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Because 2E is awful.

You make your saving throw versus shutting your word hole. Second edition is more or less directly responsible for me losing my virginity at the no-longer-so-tender age of [REDACTED]. In the kingdom of the carless D&D nerds, the man with the keys to his parents' Plymouth Voyager is king, and apparently a godlike stud to the girl who forgot her coat back at her house and needs a ride as well as somebody to drive her WA-HEY. &lt/tmi&gt

Second edition is also responsible for many of my best gaming memories, like my not-all-there friend Ed, who always wound up either starting a bar fight or getting thrown in the city dungeon. Always. If it was Saturday, we were either burning down a tavern or breaking Ed out of jail.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:42 PM on January 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Second edition is more or less directly responsible for me losing my virginity at the no-longer-so-tender age of [REDACTED].

posted by Mr. Bad Example
I'm not even going to say it.
posted by griphus at 1:50 PM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


What is it about taverns that make them so irresistably flammable?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:51 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, you don't think we were actually going to pay for those drinks, did you? It gold, man (or elf or whatever sort of furry you are), gold!
posted by bonehead at 1:54 PM on January 22, 2010


I think I just prismatic sprayed...
posted by Artw at 1:56 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


What is it about taverns that make them so irresistably flammable?

LOOK IT WAS THAT OR WATCH THE DM IMPERSONATE A "SERVING WENCH" ONE MORE TIME AND I REFUSE TO BE JUDGED
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:57 PM on January 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


I remember explaining D&D to my oldest son when he was about twelve. I told him how Neverwinter Nights was based on a game we used to play with pencil and paper and little metal guys and weird dice. He was delighted with the idea of a fantasy game unconstrained by the limits of computer code, where you could improvise encounters with NPCs instead of choosing from a menu and you never ran into the edge of the game map. Although the latter does actually happen all to often, he loved that you could just make up what was inside that random peasant's hut on the fly. We actually had a family D&D campaign going for a while, but it sputtered to a stop a couple years ago.
posted by gamera at 1:58 PM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]




Metafilter: I think I just prismatic sprayed...
posted by georg_cantor at 2:18 PM on January 22, 2010


Heh. I'm such a huge nerd and/or bad DM that I had to SPAWN MY OWN PLAYERS.
posted by gamera at 2:19 PM on January 22, 2010


The first time a friend brought a copy of Judges Guild's "City-State of the Invincible Overlord" to a D&D session was the moment that hooked me on RPGs forever. A whole city. There on that map. Every street and crooked alley, every tavern and temple. I was fascinated by the idea of building this living world. I spent weeks fleshing out NPCs, giving them backstories, tying their tales together so that a hoysehold servant's pilfered silver serving platter was engraved with the monogram of a minor noble who was scheming to upend the plans of the farmers running the market...

And of course the players ran thru the whole damn thing in twenty minutes looking for phat lootz.

But the memory of that exhilarating exercise in world-building lingers, and probably explains why I'm such a fan of CRPGs like Oblivion, Morrowind, and the like.

I've still got a whole village somewhere around here. It sits on the coast at the foot of a hill on which perches a crumbling castle, and the villagers hear eerie cries echoing from the wet stone walls....
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:22 PM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just as a heads up, if you're enjoying this you may vaguely enjoy The Elfish Gene.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:32 PM on January 22, 2010


Man, now I wish I could get a group together. Despite going to a really nerdy college, I don't know anyone at all who runs a campaign.
posted by Carillon at 2:38 PM on January 22, 2010


I just pulled up my archive of my college group's quotefile-- we played Planescape, GURPS, In Nomine, Vampire, L5R, Deadlands, Over the Edge, etc. etc.

There is nothing in this document that's safe for MetaFilter. I'm kind of impressed. I certainly don't remember it being this lewd when I was actually playing, and I really was the Only Girl for a while there.

As for Paranoia, though, there's nothing like your GM actually chewing up your requisition form and spitting it on your shoes, assuming you really like your GM.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 2:48 PM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


For those who are lamenting their current lack of group, I'd recommend Pen And Paper Games.

I've met some good people there, and got recruited into my current game group because of it.
posted by MrVisible at 2:50 PM on January 22, 2010


And of course the players ran thru the whole damn thing in twenty minutes looking for phat lootz.

"If only we had something highly flammable..."
posted by gamera at 2:55 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Random Lee Twenty, a very full fledged Dice Roller for Google Wave.
posted by ktrey at 3:04 PM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


That looks awesome gamera, I will check it out, thanks.
posted by Carillon at 3:51 PM on January 22, 2010


If we're going to have edition wars and criticisms, could we get things right please? I'll gladly accept the argument that 4e is not D&D. For one thing it's a near-complete re-write. I'll go into how below.

D&D at core was a game about professional treasure hunters. Your abilities were all devoted to treasure hunting (normally down a dungeon). And this was built into the rules. In D&D 80% (approximately) of your experience was earned by grabbing treasure and only about 20% was from defeating monsters. (This also provided an impetus to the game - hang around too long and you'd meet a random encounter - and random encounters didn't carry treasure). The way it was apparently played at Gary Gygax' table, you'd bring along a horde of hirelings as well to do much of the lifting and dying (and provide plausible replacement PCs).

AD&D 1e was the same game with every house rule Gary could think of (Unearthed Arcana a.k.a. AD&D 1.5 even more so). The people who claim AD&D wasn't D&D are right. It took away the cleanliness of the system in favour of options.

AD&D 2E was The Time Of Fluff™. The people who took over TSR from Gary didn't understand issues like the reason behind the Exp for Gold (to be fair it had never been clearly explained). And had a bulky system they didn't really understand. So more or less ignored it and produced some very nice settings (Planescape in particular) that were more or less system independent. They also made a few improvements (taking out and shooting the lookup tables in favour of the more calculable THAC0. And the people who claim that 2E wasn't D&D are right - it took away the implied setting and motivation in favour of a much more narrativist and general game.

3E returned to the mechanics. And cleaned them all up - no longer was there a separate system for Rogues to climb walls as against everyone else (which was never meant to be the case - the Rogue's Climb Walls chance was meant to be in addition to the normal Dex roll, but this was never clearly communicated). And allowed Wizards to do minor things with spells. And made all class levels worth the same number of Exps. Which both revealed an enormous amount of problems with the system (notably that the power of fighters scales linearly, that of wizards scales quadratically). And they provided some nods to simulationism - but it didn't really work (craft skills as written suck, and wizards can break entire economies with some effort). Unfortunately, with a cleaned up system, the first thing people did was piled mountains of crap onto it to the point that you could (with some extremely questionable rules interpretations) design Pun-Pun - a Kobold who was a God with Unlimited Power by 6th level (and I think they got him down lower than that). It's possible to tie the rules of any D&D in knots - but not normally so heavily. (It's also horrible to DM at high levels because the monsters and the PCs use the same rules - so they are as complex to play as PCs)

Then we come to 4E. Which is a complete redesign from the ground up. Gary Gygax was writing for an audience, most of whom would be familiar with wargames. So he used wargames terms. 4E is for an audience which mostly isn't - and regularly are familiar with MMORPGs - so they borrow the terminology there to make things easier to understand. But 4e isn't a game of hard bitten professionals raiding dungeons to get away with the money. What it is is a heroic action-movie style game running on Holywood Physics. With massively detailed action scenes and a decent rules-light system to use the rest of the time. It's also designed so there is no need for any one class (what is the thief's job? to deal with traps. Why are there traps? To give the thief something to do), there is no class which dominates (3E high level Wizards, Clerics, and Druids I'm looking at you), and there is no time at which you are reduced to being a warm body (Wizard who has run out of spells). And you can't get taken down with a single hit with a sane encounter. It also makes playing a meatshield fun - the fighter now has powers which mean that if you turn your back on him he will fuck you up (and if you don't you are attacking the tank). This is the reverse of a MMO aggro mechanic which forces the monsters to attack the tank - it means the monsters have a free choice - but lose either way. And everyone uses the same basic mechanics because Separate But Equal ... isn't.

4e pacing is often misunderstood. The basic unit of time in 4e is the Encounter - which would be better described as the scene. There's no cooldown in 4e (other than for monsters) - you can simply only use each of your signature spotlight grabbing tricks once. And then default to your basic attacks. (And you have a few ways of pulling out all the stops). And the Healing Surge mechanic simulates the way that someone can be badly beaten up in one scene but almost fresh in the next even if they are only ten minutes apart. (Think Indiana Jones or for that matter any other action hero). The skills levelling with the character are a (largely successful) attempt to ensure that the PCs are facing challenges that aren't simply too petty for them (when was the last time James Bond had trouble finding a parking spot?) It doesn't mean that the level 20 Str 8 wizard is stronger than the Barbarian if he has a better bonus. It means he is assumed to use minor magic to cheat like there is no tomorrow (he lifts the gate not with physical strength, but by wrapping it up in magic).

Combat is a focal point of 4E, but it's been radically overhauled. It's now much more kinaesthetic. Sword and Board fighters literally get to drive the enemy back half way across the room without too much trouble. Wizards get to blow an area of enemies backwards (and watch the friendly fire). And that's every round (if they chose the right options). Whereas in earlier editions people stayed there and couldn't force their way through easily.

What it's lost is a lot of the feel of D&D (it isn't), all the shananagins of high level magic (gone except for level 30). And the rulebooks are more instructive than evocative - it plays far better than it reads.

(With thanks to Old Geezer, a poster at the Rpg.net forums who played in Gary Gygax' group - I wasn't even born when AD&D came out).
posted by Francis at 3:53 PM on January 22, 2010 [24 favorites]


And for those who doubt Chris Perkins' skill, for a single encounter it's hard to beat the one at the bottom of the page. (And despite not having heard the podcast, I have no doubt the PCs were gleefully pushing the monsters into the oncoming cinders.
posted by Francis at 4:01 PM on January 22, 2010


> Oh, so now you're dissing Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying?

Warhammer Whatnow?

Actually, I forgot that they had an RPG. I was thinking of the miniatures. C.f. Chainmail.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:19 PM on January 22, 2010


I love.
posted by Pecinpah at 4:44 PM on January 22, 2010


Wow. If that's true, then your campaigns must be super fun times for your players

More of a brag than a criticism: one game is exclusively MeFite, via the games club. If you can please a group of MeFites, you're doing something right.

Though, in all honesty, I couldn't do what he does. I have the advantage over the past several years of doing our RP all in text (FG II again) which allows me to have pretty sophisticated storylines and characters and handouts and stuff, without the theatre part that was always my weakness.

I agree with you a hundred percent, though: he's a fantastic dm. I listened to the first of these podcasts on a trans-atlantic flight straight through. The theatre/presentation part was never something I was really strong at, and he's got a great table presence. What he is particularly good at, and what gives him away as a pro, is his ability to redirect things back on task when things get to chaty-chaty with the table talk. No complaints at all, really, and I'd certainly wait in a really long line for a seat at his table.
posted by absalom at 4:57 PM on January 22, 2010


Oh, there was a touch of hyperbole and winky-wink in my post, but I figure weighed into the baseline reading of any MeFi post.
posted by absalom at 4:59 PM on January 22, 2010


Things I did not expect to do today: spend a lot of time reading about porn stars playing d&d.
posted by flaterik at 5:28 PM on January 22, 2010


yeloson: *cough DaveArneson cough*

Oops, point taken.

ktrey: Combat played out like Calvinball chess with all the exception based design

....

On the face of it, that sounds awesome. Your comment is an excellent summation of 4E's problems, IMO.

koeselitz: "Should we go to the porn awards? No, the awards are boring. Excruciatingly boring and long. And there is horrible mainstream smooved-out live hip-hop every time... It's too late for the Pinball Museum. Bowling? Arcade? Strippers [...]"

A porn star who likes pinball? That is even more impressive than playing D&D, IMO.
posted by JHarris at 6:08 PM on January 22, 2010


Reading through this thread, I was getting ready to post something angry:

"Nerds!" > Oh shut up, let us have our fun and go watch football or get drunk or whatever you do for fun.

"I wish I could still play D&D!" > What? You still can! Go play, now!

"4th Edition sucks!" > Oh shut up, let them have their fun and go play 3rd edition or Pathfinder or RuneQuest or whatever you do for fun.

But then people started a play-by-chat session, and all was right with the world. It just makes me happy to see people still discovering RPGs and all the wonder, interest, intrigue and excitement they can be. Nice to have more people joining the hobby.
posted by jiawen at 6:17 PM on January 22, 2010


What is it about taverns that make them so irresistably flammable?

Two reasons, and both of them are alcohol.

But 4e isn't a game of hard bitten professionals raiding dungeons to get away with the money. What it is is a heroic action-movie style game running on Holywood Physics.

I hate those kinds of movies. Old-style D&D's pulp fantasy setting wasn't broken anyway.
posted by JHarris at 6:28 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wonder if one could use Google Wave as a D&D platform....

I'm following a giant Wave that's recruiting for all different kinds of Wave rpgs. I'm not playing any (yet) but a lot of people clearly are.
posted by immlass at 8:20 PM on January 22, 2010


And of course the players ran thru the whole damn thing in twenty minutes looking for phat lootz.

Yeah. The trope could get seriously overplayed (it's kind of a funny-once sort of thing) but I absolutely loved the "adventurers" in China Mieville's books. Here's this vast, magnificent, macabre, beautiful, and grotesque world filled with wonder and horrors and fantastic beings beyond counting. And what are the adventures all about? Going through like a bulldozer, murdering, plundering, and graverobbing anything that isn't nailed down and most things that are. If they can't eat it, kill it, or spend it, it might as well not exist.

Good stuff.
posted by Justinian at 8:41 PM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have never played D&D but I too am obsessed with these podcasts.
posted by danb at 9:23 PM on January 22, 2010


My favorite D&D anecdote from my college days:

4 of us were playing a game of D&D 2nd Edition. Two of us were idle while the DM and the remaining player were roleplaying a scenario. I forget why he was separated from the other two of us, but that's not important.

Anyway, the active player was very earnestly trying to roleplay. He had been doing so for a while and the other two of us were getting bored. I was playing an Elf mage named "Amrumir". My other friend, also idle, scrawled something on a sheet of notebook paper. He slid it across the table to me. It was a crudely drawn stick figure with an ugly face drawn on it with the caption AMARMIR IS A LICH HEAD.

We received some very ugly glares from our very serious roleplaying friend as we rather unsuccessfully tried to stifle our laughter with tears running down our red faces.

I still have the picture.
posted by Fleebnork at 9:24 PM on January 22, 2010


Among my favorite gaming stories is from Changeling, a game which has never gotten the full attention it deserves because it so lives in the shadow of Vampire and Mage, and deals with faeries instead of bloodsuckers or wizards like those other two, and thus doesn't have the appeal to teens despite being, in many ways, a much more twisted and interesting universe.

I had been playing with some members of my normal group (which is twenty or so strong, but the members in any particular game will shift quite a bit) as a Pooka, which wouldn't surprise anyone who knows me, and was having a great deal of fun as the highly likable walking catastrophe in my party whose reason for existence was presumably to torment the childer Sidhe who was set up as our group leader.

Then, in our third session, two of my friends agreed to join. We are all close, and one of them had played with us all before, was familiar with White Wolf, and had tried DMing a non-starter of a Vampire game with us. The other had, AFAIK, no gaming experience at all. What happened in the car ride over was that these two only really understood that the game was about faeries, had been heavily pushed by our DM, and that our DM was, himself, flamboyantly gay. These two did not trust that the game would appeal to them, in other words.

So in this car ride, we explained the different types of fae to the two of them, thinking that maybe Sidhe (the noble class) or Trolls (upstanding but badass and strong) or even Sluagh (sneaky and whispery) might pull them over. They would hear none of it. Only the idea of Redcaps (monstrous creatures who feed off of nightmares) could turn them around. And so they created their characters before we got to the apartment - two Redcaps, named Bric and Brac (it is important somehow that they were only ever spoken of as a pair, and would refuse to state which was which), played as hideous New Jersey Mafioso types. One had no money, but full points in magic. The other no magic but unimaginable riches. And they acted as a team, while never breaking character.

The quest sent us through the dreaming to get from DC to Alaska, and while this trip afforded all party members the chance to suck on some delectible screming, sentient lollipops, it also involved some dangerous and tricky encounters. Once in Alaska, we find an old, wise sage woman who tells us the subject of our quest is in Bulgaria, which we can easily reach by going back through the dreaming.

At this point, the DM asks how we're getting to Bulgaria, and the formerly non-gamer shouts out, in his most fuck-you Jersey voice, "Lufthansa!"

Maybe you had to be there, but it was the moment he was sold on gaming, even if the DM made us go back through the damn dreaming again ayway, instead of just letting bric (or maybe brac) buy all of our plane tickets to get us to Bulgaria the easy way. At least we got some more live lollypops out of it.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:04 AM on January 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Changeling, a game which has never gotten the full attention it deserves because it so lives in the shadow of Vampire and Mage

Changeling's playerbase also contains a ludicrously high number of otherkin, and in my experience that drove quite a few people away from the game. Amusingly enough, the otherkin seem these days to still be huge fans; Changeling seems to have lived on as a LARP more tenaciously than any of the other Old World of Darkness games.

I was always a huge fan of Wraith. The basic premise is that: you're dead, and absolutely nothing is like what you expected. The game's all about feeling and emotion and connection with reality warring against numbness and oblivion and isolation, and the struggle within the self between the urge to live and Jungian urge for annihilation. I don't think I'll ever see an RPG with such depth again- not least because it didn't fucking sell. It sold so poorly that the game line's eventual end was moved up, and the final book, detailing the end of the setting and tying up some loose ends, came out five years before the rest of the game lines were ended.

At least it got better than Changeling- while Vampire, Mage, and Werewolf got their own "end of the world" books, Changeling got a chapter in Time of Judgment with the short-run games like Hunter and Demon.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:30 AM on January 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


They couldn't even find one woman to join the group? Only a bunch of geeks with their fast food and con-like body odors?!

I like AD&D, but not sure I would actually want to play with this group.
posted by markkraft at 2:11 AM on January 23, 2010


Changeling's playerbase also contains a ludicrously high number of otherkin, and in my experience that drove quite a few people away from the game. Amusingly enough, the otherkin seem these days to still be huge fans; Changeling seems to have lived on as a LARP more tenaciously than any of the other Old World of Darkness games.
posted by Pope Guilty


I had never heard of otherkin before, even though that's the sort of thing I'd generally have heard of. I just made a minor spelling correction to the otherkin wikipedia page though. So thank you Pope Guilty, I have learned much today.
posted by haveanicesummer at 10:11 AM on January 23, 2010


I don't think I'll ever see an RPG with such depth again...

Popeguilty, you might want to check out Ben Lehman's games.

Polaris, influenced by the Shadow idea from Wraith, is very much a game about fighting for what you believe in, or, perhaps, at the end, giving up on all of it. Drifter's Escape is a game about what you're willing to sacrifice along the road of life- where you're willing to step in and take a risk or keep your head down. And Bliss Stage, despite being all anime- melodramatic, is about weighing the costs of saving lives vs. how you treat the people you love.

There's been a fuckton of small, indie games that have been pushing the envelope for the last 8 years or so.
posted by yeloson at 1:12 PM on January 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


/googles

...my god...

Well that's my brain damage for the day.
posted by Artw at 1:17 PM on January 23, 2010


So can someone tell me if this is a more annoying version of furry or if these people are really mentally ill?
posted by Artw at 2:57 PM on January 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, I was trying to think of this yesterday, but couldn't, but I've heard HackMaster is pretty good and wondered if anybody here has any experience with it?
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:59 PM on January 23, 2010


Artw sounds an awful lot like furries to me.
posted by MrBobaFett at 3:57 PM on January 23, 2010


Furries are mostly just dudes who like anthropomorphic animal characters. Maybe they never stopped digging Disney films or there's just something about the concept that they dig. Fine, whatever, it's no weirder than learning Klingon. Many create "fursonas", anthropomorphic animal identities that they roleplay as or use as persistent identities on the net and in the scene. This is maybe a little weird, but it's just a quirk of the furry fandom and is almost never a fucked up psychology thing. There's a very small group of hardcore, disconnected-from-reality types who get into their fursona, claiming it represents their inner being, and that they really are, deep down, in the soul or essence or whatever, either the animal that their fursona is based on or the anthropomorphic version thereof. You and I can laugh at these folks and shake our heads and wonder how people get so fucked up; regular, reasonably-adjusted furries hate the hell out of them, in part because these fucked-up losers are infesting their fandom and stirring up drama, flamewars, and related lunacy, but also because when most people hear "furry", they tend to have the outsider's eye and have internalized a stereotype based on the wildest stories that leak out, and the not-batshit-crazy folks have to deal with being into something that's widely associated with being batshit crazy.

And even the crazy furries are just a little. bit. saner. than the otherkin.

While the crazy furries can at least point to characteristics of the animals they fetishize and claim that they feel some kind of link based on similar characteristics within themselves, otherkin skip over all that and claim to be things which don't exist- fairies and elves and dragons and whathave you. The funniest part about the whole thing is that the characteristics of each of the things otherkin identify with/as vary from myth to myth, story to story, legend to legend, country to country, and so on. So they can't even agree on what's what, and end up in the sort of "I won't challenge your claims if you won't challenge mine" that you see in, say, the complementary/alternative medicine scene, where you'll have five different dudes with contradictory theories about the one true cause of sickness buddying up.

Of course, if you want severely fucked up, you want the otakukin or fictionkin. They're the same thing as otherkin, but rather than identifying with the subjects of myths, legends, and fairytales, the fictionkin have this whole fucked up ontology that boils down to every story and every movie and every cartoon, etc etc etc, being real, and the fictionkin claim variously to be the reincarnations or alternate-universe incarnations of any number of characters, almost but not quite always anime characters.

I wonder how much of this sort of thing would have been averted had the internet never been.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:48 PM on January 23, 2010 [11 favorites]


Pope Guilty earns a point. A point of win.
posted by JHarris at 5:16 PM on January 23, 2010


Oh, I was trying to think of this yesterday, but couldn't, but I've heard HackMaster is pretty good and wondered if anybody here has any experience with it?

I have some pretty good experiences with it, (although only 4th edition,) but I'm not sure if anyone else is interested in my take on Hackmaster, so PM me if interested in my long form opinion, in short, it's a merging of AD&D 1rst and 2nd edition with the addition of many new rules, kind of like the living version of the stereotype of the ridiculously over-complex Gygaxian game that AD&D was alleged to be, but the rules tend to be funny and/or actually pretty interesting.

It's aggressively about killing people and breaking things, but actually with a lot of rules that enforce and reward proper play of class and alignment. Most of the complexity is on the GM's end, which allows the GM to scale the rules as needed (even though the game rules threaten you with "unsanctioning" the group and withdrawal of your official GM status if you apply any house rules. It's a humorous (to an extent) game that, system wise, is actually pretty robust and modular, although it doesn't come out and say so, being written "in-character" as an authoritarian game-designer. All I know about new Hackmaster is that it's based on, to some degree, Aces & Eights, Kenzerco's Old West game.

Ok, a bit longer than I meant to type, but I can go into more detail if anyone is interested.
posted by Snyder at 5:20 PM on January 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


turgid dahlia: Oh, I was trying to think of this yesterday, but couldn't, but I've heard HackMaster is pretty good and wondered if anybody here has any experience with it?

I picked a copy of the GM's guide to it for ultra-cheap at DragonCon last year. It is interesting.

Hackmaster began, from what I hear, as an injoke/bit of backstory of the gaming comic Order of the Stick. At the time of its devising, I gather, D&D was deep in 3E's revision of the game, which represented solid disconnects from the old style of play. The game was basically remade and a lot of old cruft discarder or redesigned. This created some amount of nostalgia for the old way of doing things, the good and the bad, and that stuff is what Hackmaster is based on, a kind of parody of a hypothetical version of D&D that never got taken from Gygax.

But then the idea came along to actually try to codify that parody into an actual game, one that would be a lot closer to classic AD&D than 3E. But somewhere along the line, in that brief window of awesome right after Wizards of the Coast got ahold of D&D, probably the same window that allowed the OGL to enter our universe, they got the rights to use the actual play mechanics of D&D, and in a crazy way create an AD&D 1.75E or something like it.

The terms of the license, again so I hear (that is to say, I read on a website somewhere, but it was an official-looking website for whatever that's worth), were that Kenzer and Company had to make a significant portion of the game satirical. And so there are a lot of jokes in there. Many of the jokes are great (like the idea of a monolithic association of GMs called the HackMaster Game Master's Association, or HMGMA, who actually certifies GMs to carry out their duties and who can disbar them should they not live up to their responsibilities), and some of them fall flat (the character classes are named after their traditional names with the word "Hack" prepended, so: HackFighter, HackPriest, HackMage, etc.)

I love the book, and there are some cool ideas in it (such as Honor Points), but it is 366 pages long and, while it is better organized than the 1E books, it still suffers from rule overload making it hard to develop a coherent picture of the whole thing. It doesn't help that there are like eight monster books, sorted not by frequency or campaign area but alphabetically, so to run a good campaign you'd have to own a sizeable proportion of all of them.

I hear that they are about to revise the series with less of an emphasis of satire, the term of their earlier agreement having run out, and may become a legitimate retro-clone game.
posted by JHarris at 5:34 PM on January 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Argh, I got my comic names wrong! The comic Hackmaster derives from is Knights of the Dinner Table, dagnabbit.
posted by JHarris at 7:15 PM on January 23, 2010


Reading about a quarter of this thread has caused me to spend almost a hundred dollars on eBay buying old AD&D books. (Fiend Folio!)

I'm afraid to read any more of it.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:41 PM on January 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anybody who likes D&D should at least read a couple of issues of Knights of the Dinner Table.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:01 AM on January 24, 2010


And most of the jokes in Hackmaster are actually from the comics. KoDT takes place in a fictionalized version of Muncie, Indiana (the address given for the game store in one issue is the address The Wizard's Keep gamestore was at for years and years, and the owner of the shop used to have a T-shirt he'd wear at gaming cons reading "I'm not Weird Pete", after pictures of him got out and he was judged to, well, look an awful lot like the owner of the comic's game store) in which gaming is a lot bigger than it is now- not substantially bigger, but there's a whole organization which sanctions official play, with people looking down on groups that aren't run by the organization's sanctioned GMs and the like. Some of the mechanics come out of jokes specifically; the original mention of Honor in the strip has one of the characters suiciding his character by dumping all his Honor points to kill off what is obviously going to be a recurring villain of the campaign in his first appearance.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:18 AM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Of course, if you want severely fucked up, you want the otakukin or fictionkin.

Otakukin is especially fascinating to me, as here we're talking about a spectrum ranging from anime characters to manga to video games to light novels. I really need to read up on this more, because I'm curious to see how they reconcile the fact that all these characters have an identifiable author who indisputably created them. Maybe it's sort of a "the character became so potent, due to fan devotion, that she was willed to life ... in the form of me" kind of thing? I don't know.

I do know one otakukin who believes herself the flesh-and-blood embodiment of a video game character. I haven't really asked her to explain how this is possible, because when she brought it up it just kind of floored me, and I was on my way elsewhere anyway, but I am genuinely curious about this brand of ultrafandom.

The way I see it is, you play a game in an alternate universe, replete with magic, mystical beings, gorgeous landscapes, a work-and-school-free idyllic existence interrupted only by engaging in heroic battles where you don't really get hurt or die ... and then turn the computer off, look around at your tiny, boring bedroom in suburban Anywhere, America. Mom is yelling at you to turn the lights off and get to bed, because you have school tomorrow. I don't know. Might make imagining you're actually a video game character more appealing, given the contrast.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:12 AM on January 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Marisa, see my above mention of a horribly-fucked up ontology. The otakukin I've spoken with have generally gone with some kind of multiverse theory in which everything imaginable is real in some place or way or dimension or whatever.

In a thread about the topic on Something Awful, somebody claimed to have been present, so to speak, for the invention of the... illness, would you call it? I don't have archives access, so I can't go and find it, but s/he described being heavily involved in online fan fiction and posting on a forum or message board for fanfic writers. Apparently the people at this particular board came up with the concept of trying to fully immerse themselves in the character they were trying to write for, to submerge themselves into the character to gain a deeper understanding of him/her and figure out what the character would say or do in a given situation. Sort of like a fanfic author's equivalent of method acting, I guess. Apparently not everybody involved was particularly stable (and being a fanfic forum, there was probably already some exposure to otherkin already), because several but not all of the people involved started talking like they had these characters in their head, and started saying the kind of stuff you hear out of otakukin nowadays.

I hate to recommend Encyclopaedia Dramatica to anyone, but the articles named "Otakukin" and "Soulbonding" are actually pretty representative, if filled with the sort of epithets that make me reluctant to provide an actual link. A Public Warning: Documentation of FF7 House is a website that's been around a few years and documents the interaction of people, most of whom are big Final Fantasy 7 fans, with a small group of otakukin loonies.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:05 AM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


The multiverse theory has the benefit of being at least partially grounded in science, too (insofar as there's a multiverse theory in the scientific community), so they have that going for them. I wonder what happens when two or more otakukin who claim to be the same anime character meet. Do they have to battle to the death? Maybe have a quiz-off to see who's the imposter? I don't know; I'm loathe to go to Encyclopedia Dramatica myself.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:32 AM on January 24, 2010


Otherkin aren't restrained to RPG players. I still remember a long webchat with one of Hogshead Publishing's creatives--Hogshead was a mid-sized RPG publisher, 1994-2003, and I ran it--during which I discovered that not only were they convinced that they were really a dragon, they were actively looking for a way to return to that form. I have no idea how they intended to do it, and to be honest I am a bit relieved that as far as I know they haven't succeeded yet.
posted by Hogshead at 12:35 PM on January 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Kenzer & Company's deal with Wizards of the Coast to create Hackmaster using actual AD&D content, according to games industry lore, was... well. Back in the day Wizards put out a CD-ROM of Dragon Magazine back-issues. Whoever masterminded it assumed that TSR/Wizards owned the copyright of all content, or at least the right to reproduce it digitally, but hadn't checked the contract between Kenzer & Co and themselves, for the Knights of the Dinner Table content, which was most assuredly still copyrighted by Kenzer and Company. Kenzer & Co is run by David Kenzer, who is also a trademark and copyright lawyer. And suddenly Kenzer & Co had the rights to use AD&D.
posted by Hogshead at 12:47 PM on January 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


I discovered that not only were they convinced that they were really a dragon, they were actively looking for a way to return to that form. I have no idea how they intended to do it, and to be honest I am a bit relieved that as far as I know they haven't succeeded yet.

So am I, because then we'd have Christian Bale zooming around in a helicopter throwing C4 everywhere.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:15 PM on January 24, 2010


Hogshead, were you still involved when the FBI book was made? Because if you were, you are awesome and I thank you.
posted by cimbrog at 10:08 AM on January 27, 2010


Cimbrog, ah, no, the Crime Scene line was after I sold the company. I was responsible for Warhammer FRP, SLA Industries, Nobilis, and the New Style RPGs including The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen and Greg Costikyan's Violence: the RPG of egregious and repulsive bloodshed, the latter now available as a free PDF which will open if you click that link.
posted by Hogshead at 6:28 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes! YES! YESSSS!!!1!

Ahem.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:53 PM on February 3, 2010


I wonder what happens when two or more otakukin who claim to be the same anime character meet.

If there are infinite multiverses containing every imaginable universe, then there are an infinite number of slightly different universes in which the FF7 characters exist, and so there could be an unlimited number of otakukin who are each Aeris reincarnated from a different universe, each conforming to that otakukin's conception of who Aeris "really" is.

They couldn't even find one woman to join the group?


Listen to this (11MB mp3 file) for Mike's hilarious explanation of why getting Felicia Day to play D&D with them would be a disaster (and also a fun discussion of how awesome it would be to get Vin Diesel, which eventually became a comic).
posted by straight at 9:28 AM on February 4, 2010


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