Monday, March 10, 2008

My Dirty Little Secret

I hate to admit it, but I have become somewhat obsessed with with the upcoming Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition.

This strikes me as odd, since my tastes have continually moved towards story focused, independent games.

One obvious explanation has been my inability to find (or convert) other players. If I break out a copy of Sorcerer, everyone stares at me as if I'd sprouted a third arm. However, I can always find players for D&D (or anything by White Wolf, for that matter).

And, from the murmurs I've been hearing, DnD4E includes a number of narrative/indie-ish ideas. Oh, it will undoubtedly be more tactical than I really care for. But, we both talk about creating specific roles for all the characters in the game. Of course, I'm talking about narrative roles, and I suspect they're talking about tactical roles. But, if you are playing stories with a significant action/adventure flavor, then these two ideas become intertwined.

DnD4E promises to be faster--which is a good thing.

DnD4E claims to require less GM prep work. I wrote an entire essay on the evil of prep work. This must also be a good thing.

DnD4E supposedly focuses on opportunities rather than restrictions, that is a very good thing.

DnD4E says it is focused on fun. Fun's good. I like fun.

Mostly, though, it turns out that one of my long lost friends is one of the DnD4E developers. I spotted him while obsessively watching YouTube videos from the Dungeons & Dragon's Experience. I probably haven't talked with him in 5 years, but the video prompted me to drop him a line. So, even if DnD4E completely disappoints me in every other possible way, at least it has done some good in my life.

I really want DnD4E to be a good platform for compromise games. They might not be exactly what I want, but maybe they'll be good enough. And maybe, just maybe I can corrupt a few more players over to the dark side.

But, I'm worried that I will be disappointed, and I think the tension between hope and fear is just feeding my rapidly growing obsession.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

D&D 4th looks okay. I won't buy it for some time, or maybe for ever, but it does look fine.

I don't share your difficulty in finding players for indie games. They are not that different from the traditional ones in practice. People are willing to try new games (at least the ones I play with), indie or trad. (The divide is a continuum at best, nonsense at worst, anyway).

12:24 AM  
Blogger Rich said...

Part of my problem is that I'm still relatively new to the area (or, at least, new to the gaming scene). I don't know that many gamers, so my pool of options is already quite limited.

I also think the number of gamers (as a percentage of the total population) is much smaller here in Honolulu than back on the mainland. Gamers (in general) seem harder to find. That may just be my perception, though.

There's also a trust issue. I may elaborate on this in a later post, but to put it simply, many players have a mistrust of small press games.

In the past, I had several long-term gaming groups. I had built up a level of trust with the other players, and they were willing to give indie games a chance, based on their personal trust of me. As a result, I played a lot more indie and experimental games.

Now, however, I haven't built anywhere near the same level of trust with the gamers I know. As a result, they are hesitant to try anything that they're not already familiar with.


10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trying to get one's friends to try gaming is a method that works reasonably well (given my culture and age group). Play indie games with people and some will continue playing indie games with you.

(For the record, I am Finnish.)

7:15 AM  

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