One of the small joys of my life is being able to occasionally have lunch with friends (instead of the frequent work-related lunch) when I can talk about things I like, such as gaming. So it was today when the member of my gaming group who also runs his own game on the side and I had lunch at the Japanese ricebowl diner near my house.
Side note: having places like Japanese ricebowl diners and Vietnamese diners and Indian takeout curry places is one of the true treasures of my Midwestern oasis.
As I said, we were talking gaming. He's in the midst of a fairly ambitious D&D campaign, not your typical D&D fare but a "sword and sandal" epic set in ancient times. Less Tolkein, more Harryhausen. He's a good six months or so into it and it starting to encounter those challenges that all GM's face at a certain point, but that's for his own blog post if he wishes.
On my end, we talked about Marvel Heroic Roleplaying and its pending demise as an actively supported game, and how mechanically it seems ill-suited for long-term play. My friend, I'll call him Evan, suggested that the lack of really detailed build-your-own-PC rules might have been part of the contract between Marvel and Margaret Weis Productions, a rumor that some at MWP have been sort of hand-waving a bit rather than openly admit or deny.
Evan also discussed why he's actually not that big a fan of the OSR, and why he likes the Fourth Edition of D&D. It's a rare argument to here these days among gamers, but he states that 4E seemed to try to free itself from some of the hidebound qualities of game concepts that the previous editions seemed unwilling to let go of. I believe, because he wasn't quite clear on this, that notions of specific PC races were one of the things he was talking about, but I wasn't sure. I certainly think that there's a "if Gary said it, it must be good" quality about certain proponents of old school gaming.
Let me give an example. I would love to see someone explain the relative value of hit points to me. Specifically, a system by which people take a set amount of damage, related to their character's experience, in which there is no transition between being fully functional and unconscious (or in some cases, dead). I'm not saying the idea is bad, I just want to know what the value is of it over a host of other "stages of woundedness" mechanics out there that WotC refuses to consider.
Anyways, Evan is pushing Dungeon World, which I should at least take a look at. I like fantasy games, I'm just interested in seeing what is out there part the D&D family tree.
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