Posted on : 06-02-2012 | By : Brian | In : Musings, Role-Playing Games, WhatisDND
If you’ve been following my blogging and tweeting (and if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you have) then you may have come to the conclusion that I’m not a big fan of D&D. I’ve been very critical of the game lately, especially since the announcement of the next edtion of the game.
Here’s the thing: I criticize because I care.
D&D is responsible for a huge number of fond childhood memories for me, and quite a few more recent memories, too. For me, D&D is the total collection of all of these memories, a sort of hodge-podge mosaic of gaming. I remember dropping magically created walls on my enemies from the back of a dragon, spelunking my way through Undermountain and Dragon Mountain and Mountain Whose Name I Cannot Remember. I remember becoming the DM, the instant where the roles were reversed and a whole new world of gaming openend up for me. I remember poor Japhed, the NPC rogue who died at the fangs of a summoned snake, and I remember the kobold sorcerer who almost caused a TPK (don’t laugh; he was a badass kobold and probably had some serious anger management issues due to a massive inferiority complex).
For all these good memories there are plenty of bad ones, but these are mostly generic frustration with the rules and other assorted bullshit. I have to look this spell up again? I have to recalculate my hit points? This combat has taken TWO FREAKING HOURS and is only HALFWAY DONE?! Yeah, not all good times.
But for all that, D&D holds a special place in my mind, memories, and heart. It’s the game that put me on the path I walk now. It’s the vehicle through which I interact with many of my friends to this day. It’s a common language, a common ground, a form of shorthand for when I’m explaining my hobby to outsiders (you know, those people who look at you funny when you tell them you play role-playing games).
For all the frustrations I have (and have recently expresssed) with D&D, I owe it quite a bit. This is partially why I’m expressing my concerns and frustrations so vocally; I want it to be the very best game it can be. I want it to be able to provide me with more of those great memories. But I owe it many things, not the least of which is the benefit of the doubt.