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Dungeons & Dragons' Influence and Legacy

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the roll-for-initiative dept.

Role Playing (Games) 127

An anonymous reader writes: This year is the 40th anniversary of the launch of Dungeons & Dragons, and it's getting a lot of mainstream attention. Long-time and former players are examining the game's influence and its legacy, even as it's being introduced to yet another generation of kids. "For countless players, Dungeons & Dragons redirected teen-age miseries and energies that might have been put to more destructive uses. How many depressed and lonely kids turned away from suicide because they found community and escape in role-playing games? How many acts of bullying or vandalism were sublimated into dice-driven combat? ... How many underage D.U.I.s never came to pass because spell tables were being consulted late into the night?" Meanwhile, as people who played the game long ago have grown into adults producing their own works, our culture has reaped the benefits of D&D's influence. "The league of ex-gamer writers also includes the 'weird fiction' author China Miéville (The City & the City); Brent Hartinger (author of Geography Club, a novel about gay and bisexual teenagers); the sci-fi and young adult author Cory Doctorow; the poet and fiction writer Sherman Alexie; the comedian Stephen Colbert; George R. R. Martin, author of the A Song of Ice and Fire series (who still enjoys role-playing games). Others who have been influenced are television and film storytellers and entertainers like Robin Williams, Matt Groening (The Simpsons), Dan Harmon (Community) and Chris Weitz (American Pie)."

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Ready Player One (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47489857)

There's a whole lot of that era of culture that's now re-emerging for nostalgia value, too. There are even novels based on the idea, almost a meta-culture of a sort (see "Ready Player One," or "Geekomancy.")

What about the influence of checkers?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47489887)

Is the article trying to imply that d&d somehow made these people successful?

Re:What about the influence of checkers?! (2)

Artifakt (700173) | about 2 months ago | (#47489973)

There's Charles Stross, who's doing pretty well as a SF author these days. His first commercial creation was the Slaadi and their deities, a D&D monster type from the realms of pure Chaos. Would you say an author's first paycheck is part of them becoming successful?

Re:What about the influence of checkers?! (4, Funny)

narcc (412956) | about 2 months ago | (#47490365)

That would be ridiculous.

It was the unholy power they gained after their subsequent introduction to the occult. Their success is most likely to do Satanic influence.

Here's a healthy dose of truth for you poor misguided souls [chick.com]

Re:What about the influence of checkers?! (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a month ago | (#47491691)

In that high falsetto voice of Jon Stewart: "Nailed it!"

Re:What about the influence of checkers?! (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about a month ago | (#47492799)

They are really making a movie based on that tract.

It has one of the actresses from game of thrones and it's being done serious or so serious it's camp. Chic was contacted and approved of the film. It's out this fall.

I think the trailer is on youtube now.

Re:What about the influence of checkers?! (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about a month ago | (#47493731)

Notice how it premieres at GenCon Indy in August. I'm guessing it's camp. "R P G! R P G!"

Re:What about the influence of checkers?! (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about a month ago | (#47493761)

BTW, I'm heading off to church soon. RPG later.

Re:What about the influence of checkers?! (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 months ago | (#47490405)

im not sure but the summary sure makes it seem as if there was not D&D then there would be a world full of serial killers. Hyperbole much??

Re: What about the influence of checkers?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47492309)

And that's fine by me.

Re:What about the influence of checkers?! (1)

someone1234 (830754) | about a month ago | (#47492747)

I work for a video game company, D&D definitely made me successful.

great influence on decision support systems (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47489895)

I'm in middle management and make at least half of my decisions with a d20. Better than any MBA.

Bringing the DM screen into meetings is still not very well accepted, however.

Re:great influence on decision support systems (2)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 2 months ago | (#47490175)

You can get decent 20-sider apps for your phone. Nice graphical ones. Makes it much more discreet.

Re:great influence on decision support systems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47490519)

Put some stickers on the top of your Dell laptop and done. Modern DM screen FTW.

D&D always had negativity against it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47489935)

To say that is essentially to say that Extroverted people usually don't get Introverted people and vice verse.

Can we stop with the stereotypes? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47489941)

How many acts of bullying or vandalism were sublimated into dice-driven combat? ... How many underage D.U.I.s never came to pass because spell tables were being consulted late into the night?

The gaming community really doesn't need this old stereotype of gamers as uptight nerds who are scared to step outside the bounds of adult-imposed propriety. I played D&D in high school in the 1980s, but I found plenty of time for illin' like any other teenager. I bought a lot of weed, sold some, and I also did a lot of grafitti tagging in my neighborhood. In these activities, I was often joined by peers who I would also meet for D&D.

Re:Can we stop with the stereotypes? (2)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 2 months ago | (#47490001)

I'm glad you posted this. I started playing in '76 when I was 9 or 10. By the time I was in high school games included beer and weed. We found plenty of time to go out and party, screw hot chicks, etc. Most of us played sports or did other activities that do not fit the stereotype as well.

Re:Can we stop with the stereotypes? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47490097)

hahaha! A D&D player that screwed hot chicks! Oh, that one is funny. So you guys put baby chickens under a heat lamp and drove wood screws into them? That's nasty - I always knew it was good to avoid those strange D&D types.

Re:Can we stop with the stereotypes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47491705)

Your sister really seemed to enjoy the attention, but YMMV.

Re:Can we stop with the stereotypes? (2)

dishpig (877882) | about 2 months ago | (#47491149)

"Hey baby, what's your THAC0?"

Re:Can we stop with the stereotypes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47492635)

-20

Re:Can we stop with the stereotypes? (3, Funny)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about a month ago | (#47493301)

"I'd hit that.... with a roll of 13 or more."

Re:Can we stop with the stereotypes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47490025)

a lot of grafitti tagging in my neighborhood

Also known as vandalism.
Your parents must have been proud.
Don't project your crimes onto others. Not all teenagers are destructive assholes.

Re:Can we stop with the stereotypes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47490099)

His freinds just told him the skanks he brought home were hot because he was buying the beer.

Re:Can we stop with the stereotypes? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 months ago | (#47490439)

did he say he was tagging other peoples property? (granted we all assume as much) no he didnt. Perhaps he tagged in places he has permission like quite a number of grafitti artists get these days (im talking artists, not gang tags on the side of slums) In my town our town payed an atrist 2 grand for a 30 foot mural that turned out amazing

Re:Can we stop with the stereotypes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47490523)

I was tagging any surface I could with a crude spraypaint tag. If someone admits to engaging in grafitti tagging in their youth, it's likely that they were mere vandals, not the rare artists who are invited to create murals. So, the GP was right. However, for all his dislike of what I was doing, my point still stands that kids who grew up playing D&D could have also found time for all kinds of petty deliquency.

Re:Can we stop with the stereotypes? (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 months ago | (#47491453)

The gaming community really doesn't need this old stereotype of gamers as uptight nerds who are scared to step outside the bounds of adult-imposed propriety. I played D&D in high school in the 1980s, but I found plenty of time for illin' like any other teenager.

Pretty much this. The same guys I played D&D with on Saturday afternoons in '80/'81 were the same guys I cruised the Stratford Strip with on Friday night and went (underage) drinking with on Saturday night. And the same guys who drove their cars waaay too fast on the back roads around Rural Hall. And went shooting the appliances folks had dropped in the woods off of Payne Road with. (And occasionally took a pot-shot at the old Payne place, which was rumored to be haunted.) In fact, the only real difference between semi-redneck gamers and the semi-rednecks non gamers around us was that we played D&D (and Traveller, and Boot Hill, and Gamma World, and... a whole bunch of other games vanished into the mists of time). The only time I recall one of us getting beat up was when one (not me) made an ill-chosen remark about someone's sister.
 
D&D and other fantasy and war games were also quite popular when I was in the Navy - and the submarine service is hardly a bastion of conformist nerds.

Software (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | about 2 months ago | (#47489969)

And software process methodologies as hokey as that game.

D&D For Gays Only? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47489975)

I meant guys only, but nevermind, I got it right the first time.

Re:D&D For Gays Only? (0)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 months ago | (#47490031)

No, you didn't... nor did you get it right the second time... and for that matter, I can't imagine you adding anything to what you've said above that would indicate you are ever liable to "get it"

The flip side: (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47489989)

"For countless players, Dungeons & Dragons redirected teen-age miseries and energies that might have been put to more destructive uses. How many depressed and lonely kids turned away from suicide because they found community and escape in role-playing games?"

On the flip side, how many hours were wasted the could have been put to better use? Studying Maths or computers or foreign languages or Music or Science or Drama, or even spent at football or wrestling practice? How many trebuchets were not built because the teen-agers were busy playing games? How many young men were not Eagle Scouts? How many snow forts or tree houses were left empty, or even not built in the first place?

Re:The flip side: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47490103)

Although I only played D&D a couple of times, I did play a bunch of other RPGs in my teens. I think it was around the time I was looking at colleges, "The classes are basically like learning spells or improving skills...except in real life." Everyone has their own leisure activities that don't seem outwardly productive, and I don't knock on people having D&D be one of theirs, but it did pretty much knock the wind out of the sails for me and RPGs.
 
Yet for some reason I'm more than willing to spend my time making anonymous comments on the internet.

Blame the Players, not the Game (5, Insightful)

WheezyJoe (1168567) | about 2 months ago | (#47490171)

The great thing about D&D (that's often lost on people) is that it was a social thing. All your friends get together, kinda like college poker nights (except you're NOT trying to drain the sucker next to you). Best campaign I ever had we were ten kids in a room (on a rainy day), working together, hashing things out. The DM was really prepared, and we got completely immersed and the hours flew by like they do when you're really having fun. It was great.

The fact is, it's just damn hard to get a good campaign together, get a lot of people interested. Probably much harder now because D&D has that (false) anti-social stigma these days, and who needs a DM when you got a computer? D&D takes a lot more work than just firing up WoW (or, for that matter, Zork) by yourself in the basement. Even in the day, if your friends weren't into it, role-playing games kinda suck. On the flip side, if your friends are stoked, your DM puts in the prep-time, and you're all keen to cooperate and work with each other, D&D can make some of the best memories you'll ever have. 'cause it's with your friends.

Most people I know who shit on D&D either never played it, or had a lame experience in a lame campaign. That's a shame, but that's life. Anything involving people, from drama club to Boy Scouts to playing football can leave a bad taste in your mouth if the people in it don't care or are uncooperative assholes.

Re:Blame the Players, not the Game (3, Interesting)

JonnyCalcutta (524825) | about 2 months ago | (#47490393)

Couldn't agree more. Some of my best memories are from playing RPGs as a teen / early adult. And like the other posters above that didn't prevent me from having the more normal and less respectable teen fun (drinking / smoking / partying / hanging round street corners / martial arts / football / movies). On the other hand, when the RPG campaign was rocking I wasn't adverse to skipping a party to keep the gaming going - it was that good.

If someone thinks people should be skipping RPGs because its not studying maths or inventing new water filters for the third world then they are the ones with the unhealthy view, IMHO.

Re:Blame the Players, not the Game (1, Troll)

bidule (173941) | about a month ago | (#47492363)

Most people I know who shit on D&D either never played it, or had a lame experience in a lame campaign.

Your friend the Computer disagrees and reminds you that D&D is a gateway drug into secret societies revering Cthulhu, mutants calling themselves "superheroes" or knowledge of the Outside such as "mouse" and "vineyard".

Re:Blame the Players, not the Game (2)

Jesus_666 (702802) | about a month ago | (#47493205)

Prep time is useful but not necessary. In fact, so is a GM. I've been in fun adventures where we had neither a GM nor a fixed plot. Not quite as great as a proper campaign but fun nonetheless and very quick to set up. Now, there are games where you need a GM who plans things out in advance - Shadowrun, for instance; at least if you play it the usual way with legwork and so on. But if you don't do anything that requires meticulous advance planning you can really just pick characters, have someone come up with an initial situation and make the rest up as you go, passing GM duty from player to player as people come up with an interesting direction to move the story to.

Now, I can't say I've done that with D&D; being German I prefer The Dark Eye*. But we did do it with a few systems including TDE, Shadowrun and a weird TDE/Shadowrun/Star Wars/Exalted/homebrew crossover game where we constantly had to translate back and forth between systems. Good times.

tl;dr: Roleplaying can take a lot of prep time but if you're willing to have a more chaotic experience you can do without it - and even without a GM.


* D&D doesn't even have crucial skills like Pottery, Housekeeping or Crystal Growing. It's a wonder anyone can get any adventuring done with that system.

Re:Blame the Players, not the Game (1)

hibiki_r (649814) | about a month ago | (#47493471)

There's people that shit on D&D, like me, who say it not because it's an RPG, but because it's arguably the least social RPG system this side of Rolemaster. How many haven't had experiences of groups whose main focus was to try to maximize their combat efficiency, all else be damned? Then you have two games, a fine social game, where the combat people look bored, and suddenly combat, where the people that spend their days pouring over many pages of unnecessary rules enjoy themselves.

I like tabletop strategy games. I like Role playing, but D&D manages to get into the 'ugly valley' of having the worst of both worlds. If I want to play a tactical game, I play that. If I want an RPG, I look for something with a lighter combat system, or one without it altogether. D&D? Yuck.

Re:Blame the Players, not the Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47494191)

Roll20 brings gamers together at a virtual tabletop from all around the world.

There's no excuse now for not being able to play with people.

Re:The flip side: (4, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 months ago | (#47490587)

Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

Re:The flip side: (1, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47491059)

" How many young men were not Eagle Scouts?"
not enough.

How many kids wasted their childhood being tricked into doing other peoples work? How may Eagle scouts would have learned to cooperate better and thing for themselves instead of how to be a pre military puppet?

Before Breakfast Club (1)

Rollgunner (630808) | about 2 months ago | (#47491153)

I don't think I was unique in spending my early teen years (in the late '70s) convinced that nobody had problems like mine or could possibly understand my problems, and that everybody else fit in and I was the only loner in the whole school. I'm pretty sure the only ways you get over things like that is to talk about them or to realize that they're just not true, and both of those require social interaction. For me that came at a gaming table. Suddenly I understood that there were a lot of people just like me with problems like mine (or different, but we all had something) and that there *was* a group for me, too. One day before gaming, sitting at that table while we were chatting about the teenage horror du jour, I had an epiphany: Probably everybody in school felt just the same as I did at that age, regardless of who they were. The same conversation we were having in the local library's basement was also taking place in frilly pink bedrooms, garages, football locker rooms, the art labs and the data processing room. None of us were really different at all, which meant that none of us were really alone. That thought is what helped me get through being a teenager without ending up in juvie or worse.

Re:Before Breakfast Club (1)

Nephandus (2953269) | about a month ago | (#47491779)

Odd, after exposure to geek culture, I concluded that people lost value to me "as people" at age 2, and that we had nothing meaningfully in common that didn't outright make us rivals. Conventions, specifically, make me wonder who the fuck are all those blatant extroverts who love shopping in swarms.

Re:Before Breakfast Club (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47494375)

Man, I like this. I felt that feeling of being the loner, the dreamer, the social nerd, and then there were those moments when I was playing D&D, or sometimes just hanging out with the right group of kids and I felt a shared experience. I remember coming to the same conclusion that all kids go through this angst, whether you're the jock, the hollywood, the nerd, the rebel, what have you. Too bad it took a suicide of a staight-A, well liked, sports-oriented kid to knock it home to me. What I also remember of this time were discreet moments of self-assuredness, self doubt, and self discovering. I mean, every new experience allowed me to build on my character, and allow me to think for myself. D&D definitely allowed me to act out my imagination AND have others outside of me respond to it, as long as I was open to responding to their imagination. It might've been an artificial mind-think, and alot of time spent on spells, rules, and strategy, but it built comadarie, when the game play was good, and when that happened, I remember giving credit to everyone, including myself. That's gotta be the same thing as a group of kids who make their own song in a band, and everything just fits together. Wow, that's a feeling you just can't pin...

Re:The flip side: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47491667)

How many hours wasted that could have been spent on a better game, GURPS, Hero System, etc...

Re:The flip side: (3, Interesting)

sirnomad99 (2883747) | about a month ago | (#47491695)

"On the flip side, how many hours were wasted the could have been put to better use? Studying Maths or computers or foreign languages or Music or Science or Drama, or even spent at football or wrestling practice? How many trebuchets were not built because the teen-agers were busy playing games? How many young men were not Eagle Scouts? How many snow forts or tree houses were left empty, or even not built in the first place?

Actually, a number of studies pointed out higher math and reasoning skills in those individuals who did game as opposed to peers who did not. Likewise there was significant development in creative talents such as literature and music as well as art. In my own groups we had a large number of individuals who went on to pursue careers in literature, music or art, either teaching or creating the same. Not to mention a high number of friends who are now successful IT professionals. To be quite frank I am hard pressed to remember anyone I had in my games who is not presently successful in their field.

Other Systems (2)

poena.dare (306891) | about 2 months ago | (#47490047)

Tunnels and Trolls and Traveller had more of an influence on me than D&D.

D&D did teach me to take the parts I liked and screw the rest.

METAMORPHOSIS ALPHA IS 40 YEARS OLD WHERE IS THEIR PARTY???

Re:Other Systems (1)

Calydor (739835) | about 2 months ago | (#47490085)

Tunnels & Trolls (abbreviated T&T) is a fantasy role-playing game designed by Ken St. Andre and first published in 1975 by Flying Buffalo. The second modern role-playing game published, it was written by Ken St. Andre to be a more accessible alternative to Dungeons and Dragons[1][2] and is suitable for solitaire, group, and play-by-mail gameplay.

Judging from the above blurb I'd say D&D influenced T&T which in turn influenced you.

Other Systems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47490449)

Metaporphosis Alpha was also bt TSR, the creators of D&D and came out 2 years late, 1976. Have a party for it in 2016. Have a party for every unique TSR game, why not?\

Jim Ward wrote Metaporphosis Alpha. Jim was one of the playtesters for Gary Gygax's D&D. It's a direct derivative.

Re:Other Systems (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47491051)

Dud, it came out in 76. So not 40 years.
It was fun, for the time.

Re:Other Systems (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 months ago | (#47491509)

My bones say - close enough to 40 in round numbers.

Never played myself, I was 17-18 when I first heard of it. It appeared to me to have nothing to do with motorbikes or girls so it failed to hold my attention. We did however as younger teens play a (nameless) game that used a die, a ruler, an eraser, some pencils and a roll of wallpaper or similar.

The idea was to set up a battle, drawing in pencil the units of your army on your end of the paper. To move a unit you erased and redrew it, the dice determined how far a unit could move (in inches). To shoot you put the pencil point on your unit, put one finger on top of the pencil to hold it upright, and flick it with your fingers on the other hand. The pencil would leave a line on the paper which represented your bullet. Other than that there weren't any fixed rules, you could make up your own rules for each game...how small can a unit be, how many hits could a unit take, different coloured pencils for different bullets, a bouncing bomb is a series of pencil flicks, etc, etc. Had just as much fun playing that as a kid as I do playing WoT as an grandfather.

Have no idea if the game has a name or where it originated, it seems to be quite old, my dad showed us how to play but it was not his invention since I found other kids at school who had learnt it from their dad, not sure but I think dad played it as a kid in the late 30's, early 40's. While on the subject of kids games, here's something a bit geeky [youtube.com] that will blow a grandchild's mind.

Re:Other Systems (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about a month ago | (#47492739)

I ran two MA campaigns on the warden. The second one, the players didn't see the rules or know they were on the warden- they were in the "City of Metal" campaign.

I've run my dnd games through the decks of the Warden as well.

I hate that I missed the MA kickstarter project.

I've been running dnd since 1978. Successful career, grandkids, retired early-- and still run two games a month for 13 people from age 9 to 56.

Still play weekly (4, Interesting)

Archfeld (6757) | about 2 months ago | (#47490075)

Been meeting with the same group for more than 30 years now on Saturday night. I started playing the when the 1st red-book with crayons came out, I was like in 6th grade, and yes I still have the boxed set and nearly EVERY other book, module, and accessory. I'm 46 now and NO other form of RPG online or other can compare to the fun and comradeship of a face to face pen and paper RPG. More imagination, more interaction, and for those of you who doubt it is family fun, our group consists of 2 single ladies, 3 single guys, 2 married couples all my relative age (mid 40's) and 3 much younger players in their mid 20's ( 2 guys and a girl. We have 3 players who rotate as Game Master and we play in a long standing organically customized world. We have been at several Gen-Cons and we ran a full tourney game that was very successful several years ago.
Long live D&D

Re:Still play weekly (4, Insightful)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 months ago | (#47490163)

This, a thousand times. A tabletop RPG gives a lot more freedom of choice and a much more visceral experience than anything technology has managed to produce or is likely to produce for the foreseeable future. And the barriers to entry are basically nonexistent, a few rules, some dice, pencils and paper.

I mean think about it - you read a book, right, and you interpret the words in the book in a way unique to yourself, you see the castle or the starship in your own minds eye in a way that nobody else can. This is a big part of the magic of reading. Tabletop RPGs are like that except it's a shared imaginative experience, others literally walk in your imagination and you walk in theirs. What could be more marvellous?

Books are to movies what tabletop RPGs are to computer games.

Re:Still play weekly (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about a month ago | (#47493387)

"you read a book, right"

There's your barrier to entry. This IS 2014.

Message to George RR Martin: (2)

oddtodd (125924) | about 2 months ago | (#47490095)

Quit playing D&D and finish the Ice and Fire already.

Re:Message to George RR Martin: (2)

Number42 (3443229) | about 2 months ago | (#47490249)

But what if ASoIaF is actually a retelling of the events in a campaign he's GMing?

Re: Message to George RR Martin: (4, Funny)

Fire_Wraith (1460385) | about 2 months ago | (#47490313)

That might explain all the character deaths then. :)

Mod up (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 months ago | (#47491147)

Hahaha!

Re: Message to George RR Martin: (1)

Number42 (3443229) | about 2 months ago | (#47491247)

Yeah, with those in mind, I'd say he's running 1e with most magic houseruled out.

Re:Message to George RR Martin: (1)

jcrb (187104) | about 2 months ago | (#47490837)

George has a message for you on that subject.

http://winteriscoming.net/2014... [winteriscoming.net]

Re:Message to George RR Martin: (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47491043)

IT's clear. Everyone Stop Inviting Him to Cons. The he can have a nice block of time.

Re:Message to George RR Martin: (1)

oddtodd (125924) | about a month ago | (#47492083)

In my defense, I was being facetious playing on the meme, he can take as long as he wants, it's his baby.

Way to flatter thyself. (4, Interesting)

Nyall (646782) | about 2 months ago | (#47490109)

Depressed kids can always find outlets. I drew, listened to music, taught myself 68k assembly language for my calculator, read a lot, and lifted weights. I often reflect on how a depression based self education led to a career.

Re:Way to flatter thyself. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47492385)

Depression very seldom, if ever, leads to something constructive.
You are generally without any motivation at all.

Probably you where frustrated and poured it into a healthy outlet.

Depression is lacking energy and entusiasm about basically anything.

Re:Way to flatter thyself. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a month ago | (#47492459)

Depressed kids can always find outlets. I drew, listened to music, taught myself 68k assembly language for my calculator, read a lot, and lifted weights.

That's not normal depression........

flooded market with hack novels (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47490167)

Never played the game, but D&D's effect on my youth was their flood of hack novels that destroyed the fantasy genre. In the mid 80s, there were only a few "fantasy" books in bookstores, usually subsumed under scifi, and most (not all, there was Terry Brooks) were high quality because it was such a quirky genre that not many people wrote in it. Then in the mid to late 80s, TSR started flooding bookstores with the most awful hack novels I have ever seen. I don't think I liked a single one. And they kept pumping them out. That was an epoch right there, a before and after moment. The TSR stuff on the shelf grew and mutated like a cancer, killing off the fantasy genre. I haven't looked at fantasy in ages and ages - I hope they've stopped, but somehow I imagine a lot of those books are still there.

And the DICE are really cool. (2)

Chad Smith (3448823) | about 2 months ago | (#47490185)

You can solve anything with the d20 system.

Re:And the DICE are really cool. (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47490387)

Unless the DICE turns you into a Beta version.

Everquest (and many other MMOs) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47490187)

Everquest = AD&D 2 E with dice rolls being handled by the server.

If you used to play, and hate that it went to shit after Velious, check out Project1999. Classic Everquest (currently in Kunark, Velious launching soon), tons of work has gone into it, and tons more is still being done.

ABS Afterschool Special Saved My Life (1)

zawarski (1381571) | about 2 months ago | (#47490303)

Mazes and Monsters http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

Re:ABS Afterschool Special Saved My Life (4, Interesting)

sirnomad99 (2883747) | about a month ago | (#47491991)

I remember that piece of junk. A second rate book based on a tragic incident that was blown out of proportion by the media and latched onto by a fringe of religious conservatives in order to attack the new hobby. The only reason it got picked up for a movie was that with the controversy it was sure to garner ratings. The individual at the center of the drama in both the book/movie and the real incident it was based on had serious emotional issues prior to participating in roleplaying games.

The only good it did was to make people within the hobby who lead games pay closer attention to the activities of their players away from the table. I myself asked a few players who were letting other parts of their lives slip to take a step back and remember that no game was worth letting studies or relationships slip..

I began gaming in 1978 and after entering the Navy started a group of players at each location I was stationed. While I was stationed at NAS Memphis the group I started was actually appreciated by the barracks master-at-arms because instead of getting drunk and getting in trouble the only trouble he ever had with us was mediating an arrangement with the ping-pong players over use of the table. (we had a rather large group of players)

I was stationed at a base in the Florida panhandle when the anti-RPG movement got into high gear and we got it with both barrels due to the fact our base was in an area full of highly reactionary conservative churches (most with names that included the word independent in them) that outnumbered almost every other type of organization. In fact in the 5 mile trip from base to town you could count 25-30 churches or signs for churches. (this in a town with a non-military population of less than 200,000) During my time there I was both privately and publicly accused of everything from being a Satanist to being a practicing warlock along with anyone else that did not make a secret of their participation in roleplaying games. The highlight(?) of this campaign of hate was the publication of a pamphlet that was circulated in the area supposedly identifying a cabal of warlocks intent on destroying the community. Twelve names were on that list and the only thing any of the people on it had in common was their hobby. Most of us didn't even know the others existed. It got enough circulation that on one occasion I was asked to leave a restaurant in the middle of a meal because the owner was made aware of my identity and told me he did not want "my kind" in his establishment. The only amusing part of this story was the fact that a few of the names on the "list" turned out to be naval officers with no sense of humor. A civil charge of slander and defamation of character was made against the individuals who were identified as authoring the pamphlet. Since both of the individuals involved could not substantiate their claims (in fact neither author had any first hand knowledge of the contents of Dungeons & Dragons or even realized that several people on their list didn't even play D&D) the justice hearing the case found against them and assessed damages.

Given the amount of ignorant nonsense spread around at the time and incidents like my encounter with the restaurant owner I have a low tolerance for people trying to resurrect the propaganda of that period. (for anything other than ridicule) I have had the pleasure of gaming with many good and honest people over the 35+ years I have followed my hobby and I am honored to count most of them as my friends.

Okay, I am done with my soapbox. Thank you for your patience with my rant.

Learning English (5, Interesting)

cerberusss (660701) | about 2 months ago | (#47490309)

I'm from Europe and I didn't learn English in class. Instead I learned it from the AD&D (2nd edition) material. Together with a class mate who also had DM aspirations, we swapped and traded material through BBSes.

We were so far ahead of the class, the teacher would set us apart and just let us do whatever we wanted. As long as we whispered, we could talk and read separate from the rest of the class. Of course that got us nasty looks, but we got to talk for a solid two hours about Planescape or Forgotten Realms.

After class, we'd ask the teacher words that we couldn't find in the dictionary. He couldn't them either. I remember finding out what "to be marooned" meant, ahead of the teacher.

I also remember that me and my gaming buddy got an A- on our final exams. After the verbal part of the exam, the teacher said he was a bit disappointed in my verbal skills. But because he knew I had it in me, he'd give me an A-.

I stopped gaming when college started, I couldn't find a gaming group. After almost twenty years, I found out my current employer has a group of colleagues who regularly play Pathfinder, and I joined them. I'm playing a fifth level thief, and it's an absolute blast.

If slashdot had a TV channel... (3, Insightful)

Dr. Spork (142693) | about 2 months ago | (#47490353)

They would be wise to get a celebrity D&D campaign. Just imagine an evening with Cory Doctorow, Stephen Colbert, George R. R. Martin, Matt Groening etc, all sitting around a table, trying to lawyer rules and hold off a raid of hobgoblins! That would be a "reality" show that I could watch!

Re:If slashdot had a TV channel... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47490917)

Wil Wheaton is doing pretty much exactly that starting this winter, in the form of TableTop's RPG spinoff (though the celebrities involved won't be quite such big names).

Re:If slashdot had a TV channel... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47491031)

Will Wheaton ah yes, the person who is trying to make himself some sort of geek icon by rewriting history.

Pass.

Re:If slashdot had a TV channel... (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about 2 months ago | (#47491101)

That's Will. Wil Wheaton, on the other hand, is just a geek and longtime /.er who loves games and has the connections and wealth to film it.

Re:If slashdot had a TV channel... (1)

Lesrahpem (687242) | about a month ago | (#47491833)

I would actually pay to watch that. Kickstarter, anyone?

Gaming is forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47490363)

When I die have my ashes made into a life diamond and cut it into a D20.

And all because a copyright expired! (5, Insightful)

A NonyMouse CowHerd (545245) | about 2 months ago | (#47490391)

D&D was loosely based on concepts from "The Lord of the Rings", recently published back then by Ace in paperback format. The American publisher of LOTR had allowed the copyright to lapse because the books just didn't sell. And the people at Ace were explicit after-the-fact -- if the had been required to negotiate royaltie payments the project would never have been done. The consensus at the time was that adult fantasy does not sell.

Within weeks there was a set by Ballentine books (at 95 cents each, vs the Ace 75 cents) as the 'authorized edition'; shortly thereafter, Ace announced they had made royalty arrangements. Then Houghton-Mifflin re-printed the hardbacks. Lancer started issuing paperbacks of the Conan stories and Lord Dunsany's fantasy stories. New fantasy stories started to appear - and Gygax and Arneson came up with D&D.

Look at all the LOTR and D&D spin-offs in books, movies, other FRP games - and most would probably never have come about if the copyrights to LOTR had not been allowed to lapse.

Re:And all because a copyright expired! (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47491023)

nope.

LotR was used, but the core concepts are older the LotR. IF they didn't use hobbit' initially, they would have used something else.
It is NOT because copyright expired.

Re:And all because a copyright expired! (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 months ago | (#47491105)

Correct, as far as I'm aware it grew out of wargames and borrowed rules from diverse sources both mechanically and conceptually. Vancian magic is as close to a working interpretation of western magickal beliefs (Crowley et al) as could be envisioned, although with less emphasis on demons. Prepare your spell, cast your spell, spell gone.

Also fantasy was already a proven market long before it was published, Moorcock's Elric first showed up back in 1961 for example. As the game developed it changed from a skirmish style system to a single character game and people started to act out their roles almost spontaneously, a fascinating phenomenon.

Re:And all because a copyright expired! (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about a month ago | (#47492819)

Tolkien may have reinvented the world, or he may have read it and forgot it and then reinvented it (as he said himself when asked).

The word "Hobbit" appeared as a fantastic creature name in 1854.
---
http://blog.oxforddictionaries... [oxforddictionaries.com]

Then, after Tolkienâ(TM)s death, an example of the word did turn up, in a long list of âsupernatural beingsâ(TM) appearing in the so-called Denham Tracts, compiled by the Yorkshire merchant M. A. Denham (1800 or 1801-1859). Denham was an amateur folklorist who published many books and pamphlets, including twenty Minor Tracts on Folklore (1849-c.1854). The majority of these Tracts were collected in an edition prepared for the Folklore Society in the 1890s, and the word hobbit appears in the second volume (1895) of this edition.

The discovery of the word in the Denham Tracts was reported in The Times on 31 May 1977. The article records that Tolkien, when asked whence he had got the name, âreplied that he could not remember: perhaps he invented it; or âoeI may have picked it up from a nineteenth century sourceâ.â(TM) (Perhaps Tolkien still recalled that exchange of letters in 1938.) The Times writer rather boldly asserted that this ânineteenth century sourceâ(TM) had now been identified as Tolkienâ(TM)s inspiration. But could Tolkien have read the relevant Denham Tract? It certainly seems an unlikely origin for âburied childhood memoriesâ(TM).

Re:And all because a copyright expired! (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 months ago | (#47491379)

Correlation does not equal causation. And you've left out how Gygax and Arneson were avid wargamers, and how the first ruleset of what would become D&D was an expansion (by Gygax) of a medieval rule set by Jeff Perren... and how Arneson (an avid player of Napoleonic figures based wargames) further expanded on the concept.

Re:And all because a copyright expired! (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | about a month ago | (#47491889)

Correlation does not equal causation. And you've left out how Gygax and Arneson were avid wargamers, and how the first ruleset of what would become D&D was an expansion (by Gygax) of a medieval rule set by Jeff Perren... and how Arneson (an avid player of Napoleonic figures based wargames) further expanded on the concept.

Ah yes. I fondly remember playing Chainmail [wikipedia.org] . In fact, I still have my rule book as well as the three book set for the original Dungeons and Dragons.

Actually I originally got started playing such games at an individual level (as opposed to a unit level) thanks to Howard Thompson [wikipedia.org] at Metagaming Concepts [wikipedia.org] . A group of us were playing a lot of the microgames from Metagaming such as Ogre, GEV, WarpWar [wikipedia.org] and Chitin:I when we found the microgames Melee, Wizard, and Death Test by Metagaming. Inexpensive and pocket sized, they were great to carry with you and play whenever the opportunity presented itself. They were the CheapAss Games [wikipedia.org] of the 1970s. In the Labyrinth, Advanced Melee and Advanced Wizard formed The Fantasy Trip [wikipedia.org] and added the necessary RPG aspects to the series for many adventures. After the dustup between Thompson and Steve Jackson, our group ended up switching to Advanced D&D for several years after that. It was too bad since I really liked TFT.

Re: And all because a copyright expired! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47491425)

This is nearly as dumb as the post I once read that Tolkien was one of the original DMs as claimed by this guy who knew a bunch of fancy people somewhere.

While there was a copyright issue with Lord of The Rings, it was because of a bit of a mistake by the US publisher, who didn't follow US regulations. However, this obviously upset Tolkien and lead to such a kerfuffle that Ace ended up paying anyway.

In many case, D&D derived from numerous sources such as Vance, Moorcock, Norton, Anderson, and Lieber.

Re:And all because a copyright expired! (1)

sirnomad99 (2883747) | about a month ago | (#47492065)

D&D had many sources of inspiration beyond Papa Tolkien, The only real aspect that you could strongly argue came from only LOTR was the concept of the halfling. Almost every other aspect of the game had been used repeatedly even before LOTR was written. Do remember that Tolkien's primary occupation was professor of English literature. He borrowed from the traditional myth cycle so heavily that every author writing fantasy around the time of LOTR 25th anniversary was accused of copying him and it wasn't until Donaldson wrote his Thomas Covenant novels that anyone writing "epic" fantasy got a fair shake.

The magic system owed greatly to Jack Vance, the system of alignments was influence by Moorcock, and we could go on for quite awhile. Even the concept of magic rings which many have pointed at as Tolkien's invention was in fact rooted much further back in traditional myths of the Norse and Germanic peoples. (The Ring of the Nibelung being the best example)

Re:And all because a copyright expired! (1)

khallow (566160) | about a month ago | (#47492883)

The only real aspect that you could strongly argue came from only LOTR was the concept of the halfling.

And elves, dwarves, and dragons. Sure, other sources had them, but these races as presented in D&D were of Tolkien's peculiar flavor.

Re:And all because a copyright expired! (1)

StefanJ (88986) | about a month ago | (#47492471)

Sirnomad99 notes that there were other influences. Jon Peterson, author of the scholarly gaming history Playing at the World, suggests that Tolkein and LOTR was just one influence among many. The Conan stories, Pratt and de Camp, Leiber and Vance are all specifically mentioned.

In fact . . . I just picked up the book and turned to page (117) where I'd last left off. There are quotes from Gygax where he suggests that Tolkein is not the be-all and end-all authority on the nature of fantasy creatures.

Oh . . . I actually have a set of the Ace paperbacks! They're not impressive. The special characters look hand-sketched, and the cover art is mediocre.

George R.R. Martin plays D&D? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47490617)

Am I the only one who gets cold chills when thinking of George R.R. Martin as a DM?
His players will have to bring three fresh character sheets to every game session to prepare for the heads that will roll...

Re:George R.R. Martin plays D&D? (3, Funny)

Jhon (241832) | about 2 months ago | (#47490975)

Quick! Hide behind the mound of dead bards!

Correlation != causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47490645)

...

The post seems to ride on the (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47491013)

false idea that all kids that played DnD only played DnD and didn't do anything else.

D&D influenced me and my game design HEAVILY (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 2 months ago | (#47491033)

I was raised on Choose your Own adventure books bought at a thrift store. Then I got the Red Box when I was 12. I got all the boxes then. Later I got original AD&D from a friend.

Dungeons and Dragons got some things right, but I argue against some parts of their system such as armor. Their armor means you dodge more, but if you get hit, it is full damage. A better system makes armor reduce damage, and agility+dodge skill avoid attacks. There's no ways to overstate D&D's affects on modern games.

Re:D&D influenced me and my game design HEAVIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47493689)

That's because you never read the fucking rules. D&D's concept of hit points is not all real damage. Most of it is skill, avoidance, etc., the stuff you are bitching about. People always think they have a "better system." The more realistic you make the rules, the less fun the games becomes, and the more drawn out and boring combat becomes.

Don't forget Record of Lodoss War (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47491489)

the manga expy D&D series and what that big gateway was.. D&D influenced that one for sure, because it was literally a D&D campaign

Still Playing at 49 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47491835)

Just ended a game of AD&D (based off second edition rules but heavily modified in the last 20 years of DM'ing) and opened /. to read this. The game still is a release for creative energy, and I turned 49 this year.....

All I know is we were busted by the cops (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about a month ago | (#47492601)

at 2am for complaints by the neighbors about loud arguing.

We were apparently loudly with the DM's interpretation that a polymorphed ogre into a flower was "as tough as an ogre" -- as in it could still inflict 1d10 damage to us while polymorphed into a flower instead of merely still having 20 hit points.

Ah... good times.

Played it, moved on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47492721)

I was at a games con near Oxford in England in 1973 when this lad brought out a small white box he'd bought in the States. Didn't get to play then but it looked fun, so I found a supplier and got a copy. Played a fair amount over the next few years, but to be honest I didn't really get into RPGs until I met a decent GM who was running other systems and was far more interested in telling the story than herding minimaxing egotistic rules lawyers. I've played plenty of D&D since then, but tbh I still don't rate it as a system - my ideal game is one in which the players don't even know the rules, let alone reach for the rulebook every time something interesting happens...

As for the stereotyping, though - I don't think I ever knew a player who was into RPGs to the exclusion of other aspects of life. Nor was a single one of them the stereotypical D&D nerd with no life beyond the game. It was a hobby, like any other - often cinsuming quite a bit of time, but almost never to exclusion of everything else..

You see a Slashdot troll, roll for initiative! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47493639)

You roll a one!

"How many parents' basements would have gone unused for 20-30 years if it hadn't been for D&D?" says the Slashdot troll.

how many - the flip side (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47493999)

IF THE HAD NOT PLAYED D&D (and similar games)

How many kid might have been more physically active and there for healthier and perhaps have a longer life ?

How many of those shy people who resorted to such games would have been forced to associate with a wider spectrum of people and more fully developed their social skills ?

How many kids attention and effort went into playing when they could have been studying and or developing Ideas which increased societies wealth and solved countless problems still afficting us today.

The sword cuts both ways.

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