Gaming and Writing
I’ve played D&D for years, starting back when it was not the popular thing to do. I’ve always found it a very pleasant pastime and a good way to express creativity. Sure, there are rules (more guidelines really) and getting a handle on the complexities of the system can be daunting, but if you are a creative type, it is definitely worth giving gaming a chance.
So, you may be asking, what does gaming have to do with writing? Well, for many, when you play D&D, you are telling a story. Sure, there are stats and numbers and random dice rolls to make decisions, but for most, it is less about the stats and more about the adventure that unfolds.
The Dungeon Master
For most of my gaming life, I have been the Dungeon Master (or DM). For those not familiar with D&D, this is the person who acts somewhat as a narrator that sets the scenes and guides the players on their journeys as well as an arbitrator of the rules. However, the best DMs ignore the rules (or dice rolls) when doing so tells a better story. After all, the DM’s goal is not to kill the players, but to challenge them and help them create an interesting experience.
Dungeons & Dragons Initial Thoughts
Well, I’ve had a week to look through the Player’s Handbook so that I could learn the differences between the 5th Edition and my tried and true 2nd Edition of Dungeons & Dragons. I can say that some of the changes I really like. Others, I am not so certain of yet.
For instance, a number of items are simplified. The stats all have the same modifieds, the experience and level progression are the same for all character classes, and saving throws and ability checks have fewer rules and types. Some things such as advantage and disadvantage (where you roll two dices and take either the higher or lower of the two values) have a subtle brilliance to them.
Other items, like healing all your hitpoint damage after a “long rest,” or what is an 8-hour break, seems to be an over simplification. If you are cut up with slashes and punctures or your bones are broken, a night of rest won’t return a person to being whole again. There are other rules for getting back hitpoints for just an hour of rest. I understand the reasons behind such a change in the rules, it brings Dungeons & Dragons in-line with computer and console games of today where a health is relatively easy to recover. Playing out long days of slowly healing or having characters die frequently or having to constantly stop to use healing magic is not that attractive for some. I’m just not sure I like that change so much. Of course, as a DM, I could put in house rules to limit such healing if I wanted.
Dungeons & Dragons
I have had a love affair with Dungeons & Dragons for my whole life. I grew up with friends who had the first edition. I have a full shelf of D&D books and modules, mostly Advanced D&D and 2nd Edition Advanced D&D. I played regularly at that time (the wear on the dice in the picture has been well earned). I had invested loads of money and time into what I owned before I was even out of high school.
After school, the members of my regular group drifted apart. I tried a couple of other groups, but never really resumed regular play until a few years ago when I started playing on-line with one of my original group. Using Skype and video sharing, we’ve been able to get together around once a week, even when he’s half-way around the planet.
But, we still play 2nd Edition, and honestly, I had no intention of upgrading to new version of Dungeons & Dragons. I had learned the rules of 2nd Edition, we created house rules that fixed the things we didn’t like, and expanded what we did. We both have the same set and it all just works.