Monday, August 18, 2008

And Now a Slight Break...

We depart from our usual level of decorum to post a screed related to the changing fashions of D&D and our desires and wishes for play.

The management heartily recommends that, due to the use of foul language and harsh phrasing, this rant not be read by anyone.

"OK, I admit much of the rules-speak goes over my head. If I can play it out, I get it, but sometimes the text doesn't work for me. That given, from what I've read, Fourth is not D&D for me. It's not appealing, it's not interesting, and I frankly couldn't give two shits in hell about it, it doesn't give me what I want from D&D.

Which really asks the question, "Well, smart-guy, what the rancid orc-butter DO you want from D&D?"

Please clear the sensitive and the weak from the room...

Thank you.

The following should be read in a single line, punctuation is only included to help the reader and because I am compulsive.

I want:

To be able to throw down 3D6, in order, and be able to play in 20 minutes, yeah, I'm not going to get the character of my dreams, I'm OK with that. I will probably get some schmuck who will die in short order, acceptable. I've reached the point where agonizing over stats and bonuses (remember when those were special?) is not where I want to be. If I want awesomely detailed characters for a story-heavy roleplaying session, I have GURPS, that can detail virtually any wacked out shit I come up with. From Neo-Victorian construct mages to demonic pigs to acid breathing trout from beyond space and time - and I'll bloody know every speck of their capabilities to the most minute BS. That's what GURPS is for. If I'm playing a D&D magic-user it's because I want to play a wizard and do bad-arse wizardy things like deciphering ancient runes that tell us how to defeat the demon lord Urbraxarius, intimidating the kobold chieftain with my 'magic-smoke tube' (i.e.: pipe), and fireballing the fucking orcs, I didn't wade through first through fourth level just to wank, I'm FIFTH LEVEL NOW, SUCK MY FIREBALL, GREENSKINS!! If I want rules-light play, all I need are awesome players, so again, whatever I might do might be D&D inspired but it's not D&D.

I want a level of freedom. No, not the prestige class. I want the freedom to play Feodoric the Electric Thri-Kreen if the DM says it's OK. Yeah, I'm betting he's just going to get a +1 to dex and a -1 to wis, but I don't care, I want to play a bug-man that can jump up in the air 10 feet, throw spinny crystal discs and say inscrutable insectoid things ("Zounds! The light has spawned in the Caverns of Rot, this means the Prophecy of the Elder Grub has come!! Flee the Ever-Hungry Spider-God!!!"), not worry about balance and how many ECL I have to suck up and either be behind fifty-six thousand XP or play a bug-man with one hit die in a tenth level game... And, yeah, the DM probably should say it's OK, as we're playing a game about descending into a trap-filled underworld and grabbing loot, more Conan-esque swords and sorcery than high fantasy world building.There's nothing wrong with high fantasy world building (Sweet Zombie Jesus knows I've done enough of it), but you know what, if I want a super-realistic medieval fantasy world, I'll buy Harn (fuck the ^ over the a, I hate that thing). Never mind, I do have Harn, it's awesome. It's a fucking pain to play though - it's too fucking realistic. You can't have weapons unless you're nobly born, etc, etc... Screw that, I want to grab a two-hander, don ring mail (yeah, it's not historically accurate, the only things that were were the trout-bloated pole-arms!) and make my fortune. And then blow it all on training, ale, whores, and spurious treasure maps, have to hunt down the little weasel who sold it to me, threaten him, find out he's stolen the Mystic Gem of Zirtairn, have him die (possibly by my beating him to death), leaving me in possession of a magic rock that inexplicably summons increasingly powerful demons to my vicinity and is wanted by the Arch-Mage Irrastibaal, forcing me to figure out what the pig-shit I am going to do about the demons, archmage, and my unpaid bar tab (to say nothing of the delightful Bellindara, Professional Strumpet, who's coming after me with a knife because I pawned her jewels to pay my other bar tab). You know, adventure. Gold, dragons, weird-arse traps, laser beams, jewels, ancient cults, dragons with laserbeam eyes, awesome magic that I can use against my enemies (even if only to confuse them. "You... you... you threw a fucking capibarra at me?!?" Yeah, it's not on the normal Bag of Tricks lists - but it should be!).

I want a level of fairness. Not balance. Fairness. I give a crap if my PC dies, yeah, it sucks, in a story-heavy game it's downright painful, but I want an adventuring lark. Death means I lose my XP and nifty shit. Fuck, better get new XP and nifty shit and this time I won't die by the hand of a... whatever the fuck that was... sounded like a godsdamned gibbering mouther oozing blood and acid... you a freaky DM, man... Shit, I'm not even sure those fuckers have hands... So fuck death, and maybe fuck Death (if, you know, she's cute), but I want a chance. Even if it's only a chance to run away... ("Wait, that bastich is in black, rune-covered armour and is riding a flaming horse?" "Yes, but you don't think he's noticed you yet." "We run. Fast.") I'm not asking for balanced encounters as long as there's a way to avoid them and a clear sign that I and my gang of drunken hoodlums are overmatched.

So, after bemusedly perusing my screed, you're no doubt wondering, 'What the fuck do you stand for, man?'

I stand for a vrusk, a dralasite, and one of those flying monkey guys with the sunglasses whose race name eludes me, teaming up with an elf, dwarf, knight-in-shining-armour, reformed thief, a hobbit armed with a hatchet and a HUGE cookbook, and a no-shit-it's-real-magic wizard to save the gods-be-damned world by looting the bejeesus out of a wonky, trap-filled, underworld, unearthing crashed spaceships, and rescuing princesses (possibly to sell them into slavery) and building sweet-arse castles before they retire to sip mai-tais and mint juleps (fucking vrusks gotta be different...) with their pet dragons.


You bet your arse it is.

That's D&D.

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