~ Attention. Here’s an update on tonight’s dinner. It was veal. I repeat, veal. The winner of tonight’s mystery meat contest is Jeffrey Corbin who guessed “some kind of beef.”~
Welcome to yet another edition of Friday’s “Mystery Meat”. I’m on the road, and have no way to scan any of the new maps I’m working on. Yes, I am working on some new stuff, hard to tell lately with my significant lack of posts. This week I am going to try something a little different, I’m going to write. I cruise the blogs when I can, and one link led me to another, then to another when I came across an article on LoTFP by James Raggi titled “I Hate Fun” . I read it, I enjoyed it, I thought a lot about it. I just read it again.
I hate fun too. I get it, it explains my whole journey into roleplaying. I started with the Holmes rules in the Boxed set. Funny enough I got the bug for D&D from “Reading” the Hobbit and the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy…..I quote James’ article,
“But while Gygaxian D&D was forged from classic stories, with the perfect capacity to deal with the current fads (and that’s where Tolkien comes into D&D, as a secondary “hip” source to lure the kiddies in, not as a core component)”
I understand where he is coming from, with the LOTR movies being so “hip” these days. I had to do it the old fashioned way back in the mid-seventies and read those books. None the less, they were a big influence on me and my foray into D&D. Once I got in to it, I started reading the some of the books and authors listed by Gary Gygax in AD&D. I loved Fafhrd & Grey Mouser, I discovered as in James’ statement above that those stories were closer to D&D than Tolkien. My brother who played D&D with me, discovered the Kane books by Karl Edward Wagner (just guess what his characters name was!)
Mr. Raggi goes on to say, and I quote “It is rather unfortunate that Dungeons and Dragons had the subtitle “Rules for Fantastic Medieval Wargames Campaigns Playable with Paper and Pencil and Miniature Figures.” It’s a historical problem that the term “role-playing game” (or any other suitable term to differentiate it from the wargaming hobby that was still in full swing) wasn’t used, as role-playing wasn’t its own genre at the time. It certainly wasn’t a wargame in any real sense, and Gygax (at least – I don’t know about Arneson), co-creator and writer of the actual text, didn’t even use miniatures!”
I understand what James is saying here, but for me “Rules for Fantastic Medieval Wargames Campaigns Playable with Paper and Pencil and Miniature Figures.” intrigued me even more than if it had been described as a “Game of Roleplaying” I mean paper and pencil meant creation to me, miniatures were something that sounded like so much fun, and Fantastic Medieval Wargames Campaigns speaks for itself….as a fourteen year old, I didn’t really know what “Campaigns” meant, but I figured that out pretty damned quickly.
Over time I did start digging deeper into the roots of the game, I remember getting a copy of “Blackmoor” my first year in college. I felt like I had discovered an ancient tome, from the deep dark history of D&D. When I read the first time, I was a little shocked when I read that Stephan, was really from outer space in the “Temple of the Frogs”. At first I thought that’s not “D&D”, then I realized just how open ended the original concept of D&D was, because of that little nugget. I have yet to read the original three booklets yet, but I will someday.
While in the day we mostly played a very loose variation of the Holmes rules, with added bits from AD&D, most everything we played was completely our own creations (Excepting of Course B-1….the world’s greatest D&D module) we didn’t take the easy way out with adventure settings, or pre-programmed modules. I won’t say we never used other AD&D adventures from time to time, we did, but only if I could fit them into “Our campaign”.
I am not doing his article justice in this simple short post. There is so much more in there than just the little I picked out. I highly recommend checking it out. After reading and re-reading what Mr. Raggi wrote, I felt an affirmation of my entire journey into D&D, because I did dig deeper, and I have looked at the traditions…..and in the process I had fun, even though “I Hate Fun”
Footnote: I didn’t see it when he rolled it, but my brother’s character Kane had an 18/91 Strength……he swears to this day he didn’t fudge that dice role.