06 October 2008

To boldly — what no one has —’d before

When Dungeons & Dragons was published, it included a full range of monsters and treasures. This gave referees both sufficient things that could be used out-of-the-box and lots of of inspiration.

But they also became—to an extent—canonical. We tend to assume that the bulk of these things exist in every DM’s milieu and that the bulk of them are as described in the book.

As new editions were published, each sought to round out those lists even further. And the canon grew. While there is always room for our own creations, adding them to the already crowded lists...

Imagine what it was like for players in Dave’s Blackmoor campaign or Gary’s Greyhawk campaign, to encounter these things for the first time not in books, but in game.

Perhaps we should strive to use nigh none of this stuff exactly as published in our own campaigns.

Is this at odds with my “let D&D be D&D” principle? I thought so, but I’m re-thinking that.


James Maliszewski said...

It's only at odds with the principle if the principle implied that you must take everything as written as Gospel, which it doesn't. From where I'm sitting, there's no contradiction here at all.

Robert said...

I think the principle amounts to: “Don’t waste your time trying to shoe-horn D&D into a shoe it was never meant to fit.”

In the past, I think I wanted to change monsters because I wanted D&D to be more of a simulation. Which risks running afoul of the principle.

If I’m changing the monsters, however, in order to try to enhance an aspect of the game; then perhaps I’m actually following the principle.