25 March 2008

The Strange Dungeons of My Mind

Recently, for some obscure reason, I've been feeling a yearning for old fashioned Dungeons & Dragons. Although I ran my share of D&D back in the 90's (mostly with the 2nd edition AD&D rules which were the norm back then), the game's I've focused on for years now are very different from the oldschool D&D style.

There's a million reasons to choose other games instead. The milieu and themes are rather restrictive. Gameplay can be cumbersome, with most of the focus on tactical combat. D&D by definition lacks much of the artistic freedom I usually feel I need.

But D&D is simply D&D. There's something magical about it. Part of it is sheer nostalgia, part the simple fun of bashing monsters and hunting for treasure in the way that only old fashioned Swords & Sorcery can provide.

The biggest dilemma, for me, is that to get the most out of a D&D campaign it should last a long while. You want to see characters gain levels, gain power, build that fortress, get followers, become kings... And this is where the restrictiveness of the game setting kicks in. D&D is a game built around fantasy cliches, and while those cliches might be fun for a game or two, I'm not sure I could do it for years. I have a need, deep inside, to be constantly doing something new. Even if you added twists to the game world and made an effort to create interesting stories rather than just dungeon after dungeon, it would still, in some way, be the same old D&D.

So logic tells me that I'm not likely to, nor should I, start a new D&D campaign. But I can't help feeling this yearning inside me, and I don't know what to do about it. I need to start running a game soon. It's way overdue, once again. And I'm just not sure what direction to take.

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