Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I Don't Play Dungeons & Dragons Anymore

No I don't.

Let's face it. The stewards of the IP are hammering the final nails into the coffin of what the original game use to be. With their lack of focus on what the heck 4E is (is it Essentials, is the PHB(s) is it the "Red Box"), their total disconnection of all previous versions of the game, to their final 'Fortune Cards' (Hasbro/WotC call it the Pokemon Effect), the official game of Dungeons and Dragons is now something completely different and stand alone.

But that is not all. It has been talked about the blogosphere that Pathfinder is now outselling D&D 4E (see here, here and here).

Dungeons & Dragons is now just a couple of words that are loosing all meaning. Maybe not yet monetarily for some but the title Dungeons & Dragons is fast becoming a relic of the past. It use to be the best quick descriptor of what an RPG is. Many people have heard what D&D is having lived through the 80's even though they may not have played the game. The name Dungeons & Dragons has become a part of our pop-culture, a term used more as part of the background foundation of the history of RPGs than as a game - and that's it's only value right now.

And that's fine. I really don't care. I haven't bought an official D&D product in over 20 years so no money lost on my part.

So I don't play D&D anymore.

That doesn't mean that I don't roll my dice in my fantasy realms. The spirit of Dungeons & Dragons and it's creators has given us a game that can be what we want it to be and right now for me that game is Swords & Wizardry or Labyrinth Lord, or any of these other spin-offs and branches of the original game. Maybe for me it can even be Pathfinder.

WotC's D&D has too evolved and that's okay. The game was meant to evolve. Perhaps it will evolve itself into oblivion. But from this deep rooted tree has branched off an entire industry, sub-industry, hobby-craft, culture.

Besides, isin't everything just a house rule anyway?

So I don't play D&D anymore.

Again, to reward those of you who have read through this little rant I present to you yet another obligatory contribution to my fellow bloggers & loyal readers.

Out Of Dungeon Living Expenses

During a campaign, time outside of the dungeon tends to go by quickly. Below are charts to keep track of some general expenses based on the PC's chosen standard of living. These are very loose guidelines to help the GM deplete the financial resources of his party of adventurers. The GM should feel free to ad-lib these charts as he/she sees fit. Some daily expenses have been added for convenience.


  1. I don't tell people that I play D&D anymore either, I just say I play RPGs. I am trying to break myself of saying "it's like D&D" and just describe RPGs on their own.

  2. Sweet chart! What did you base the values off of?

    I am proud to say I play Classic D&D. AD&D. OD&D. It's all D&D to me just like rock-n-roll is still rock-n-roll, even though it's now commercial programmed crap.

  3. The charts values were based on a number of sources; everything from the Labyrinth Lord rules to Kellri's Old School Encounter References and from our campaign. After mushing it all together this is what I ended up with.

  4. Awesome expense chart, thanks!

  5. What's D&D?

    Is it anything like Star Trek (FASA/LUG), Mekton, Teenagers from Outer Space, Mutants and Masterminds, Faery's Tale Deluxe, InSpectres, Ars Magica, Changeling: The Dreaming, Star Wars D6, Traveller, Bliss Stage, Apocalypse World or Fiasco? 'Cause those games I play.

  6. Need more Proof 4E is tanking? KAPOW!
    Nice little article. Just what is going on with "D&D" (I'm loathe to even call 4E that)?

  7. Well said and GREAT CHART, thanks!!

  8. If you haven't bought anything for it in 20 years, hasn't it been dead to you for quite a while now? What has changed?

  9. It hasn't been dead to me for those 20 years. I've pulled the books out many-a-time and of course have fond memories. Even tried to get a campaign going back in oh, '93 or so - Moldvy B/E. And when I got back into it in these recent years just pre-clone, D&D and Gygax were the hooks. Of course, with the clones and the online community it's evolved into something else and 'D&D' in and of itself is less important than what it has created.

  10. It is kind of ironic since—in the 1990s—I wouldn’t say I played D&D because I felt it was a horribly obsolete system, and I was playing better systems instead. Today, I’ve rediscovered the spirit of D&D, and tend to prefer it, but I now don’t say I play D&D because the name and the spirit have parted ways. ^_^

    Thanks for the living expenses chart!

  11. Great chart! Thank you.

    One question though: should the weekly cost for Private Room in Noble Lodge/Tavern be 140gp?

  12. Yes, it appears that you are correct, Sim!
    A no prize for you!

  13. Time marches on and things change. Some people hate change some people embrace it. At the end of the day playing "D&D" or not doesn't matter. Each gaming group is different. I envy you grognards who have groups that play and enjoy Labyrinth Lords and OSRIC and Castles and Crusades. I own those games. Not a single player has ever even remotely considered playing them with me. So they sit and gather dust until my children are old enough for me to run games for them. Several years ago I moved away from my old gaming group (that happily continued playing 2nd ed D&D) and upon moving to a new area couldn't find groups doing old school style gaming. So in order to keep doing RPGs at all ... I begrudgingly picked up 4e. Finally I managed to forge a decent gaming group after 2 years of struggle and dedication. But getting those people to go back to a old school style game isn't in the cards. Essentials helped me because it turned people off to 4e and I got people to move to pathfinder. There is no way we'll end up doing anything old school though. In my gaming group the newer players (and I'm talking people in their 20s and 30s who have just done alot of post 3.0 D&D) just haven't had that sort of experience and they aren't drawn to the old stuff like I am. So what does someone like me do ... just say "oh bad newer D&D ... grrr ... grrr ... I quit!!!" or do they conform and have what fun they can? I've chosen the later path. The judgment and condescension though that I see from both camps has really turned me off to internet opinions. Its as bad as discussing religion or politics. I feel that many in the OSR camp as well as the pathfinder and 4e camps have lost the point entirely. The point isn't about what version you play but about just doing tabletop gaming over wasting time on facebook or WoW or with Ipod applications. Tabletop gaming on the whole is constantly at risk of slipping into the abyss. Focusing on the fun of RPGs in general is what we need more of. Lines in the sand and pontificating about version superiority are great if you want to feel smugly superior about yourself ... but they do little to help new players and people like me who are just stuck with the reality of where they live and who the game with. New players will come to RPGs via 4e and whether or not they look beyond it and continue off into other RPG experiences just depends on the large communities out there and the positives of doing so. For people who have their 30 year old garage gaming group from the early 80s still gaming together ... this matters not ... but for a 35 year old father of five who has to game with the new people he has found it does matter. I would say it matters for the future of RPGs on the whole. I am a huge fan of the OSR stuff but not a fan of haters in either camp.

  14. Father of 5? It sounds like you have the beginnings of a gaming group right there. I started playing when I was 10. Not sure how old your kids are but you can always get them started a bit early with the concept of RPGs. Keep the rules super simple and the game fun and evolve it as the kids evolve.

    Good luck!


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