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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Chainsaw Hobbit's Avatar

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    Default Why I Stopped Playing D&D, and Why I Miss It

    My father introduced me to Dungeons & Dragons when I was eight years old. He dug the Red Box out of the cupboard - the one with the Larry Elmore painting of the viking and the dragon. My eyes went wide.

    He ran a game for me. I had never imagined there could be anything so cool. Soon I had convinced him to buy me the D&D Third Edition core rulebooks. I read them in bed every night, brought them to school, and ran games for friends and family whenever I had the chance. It made me happy, and improved my math and reading skills, so my parents encouraged me. Most of my allowance went towards D&D books, I amassed a miniatures collection, and my room was full of maps scribbled on graph paper with mechanical pencils.

    Years passed, and my interest began to fade. Games took too long to prepare for. When I actually could get a game organized, my attention would wander, and I would spend the session bored and half-asleep. I couldn't articulate what was happening at the time, but I had become bogged down by the overabundance of rules, tables, and dice. I had begun to think of the game in terms of its mechanics, and in the process, lost my spark.

    My interest in D&D took a back seat for a long time. I would occasionally organize a game or write an adventure in a fit of nostalgia, but would always find myself bored and disappointed. Fourth Edition happened, and I was vaguely disappointed, but I bought the books and played with them some. D&D had been an integral part of my identity. Now it was a side-interest.

    I decided, wrongly, that the reason I was no longer passionate about D&D was a lack of interest in medieval fantasy. I tried other games like Call of Cthulhu. I tried universal systems like GURPS. Each time, I would try to convince myself that I was once again enthusiastic about roleplaying, but would always fail.

    Then I discovered narrative based roleplaying games. Ones like Mouse Guard, Fate, and Risus. My interest came flooding back. Simple mechanics and focus on story were incredibly refreshing. I backed the Fate Core kickstarter, and have been playing Fate Core ever since. I love it. It has rekindled my passion for tabletop roleplaying.

    But ... there is something I miss about D&D. Especially classic D&D. I think its the fact that D&D is, at its heart, a game. Fate Core isn't so much a game as a medium for group storytelling. The challenge element has almost been removed in favor of narrative, and this is fine, but the appeal is different. Fate is about creating a story. D&D is about challenge, improvisation, and creative problem solving.

    I think I'm going to give D&D another try. It will never be my go-to system, but I do miss that challenge-oriented gameplay. Knowing that one's character could, at any moment, fall into a pit of spikes and die has a certain visceral appeal - and I miss it!

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGirl

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    Default Re: Why I Stopped Playing D&D, and Why I Miss It

    There are a few people who play with retro clone callbacks to older editions - for that matter, some people still run Cyclopedia, 2e, or 1e games. There are some very roguelike tables out there, too. What you are looking for is out there. If you offer it, perhaps you will find some people who enjoy those games.
    "We were once so close to heaven, Peter came out and gave us medals declaring us 'The nicest of the damned'.."
    - They Might Be Giants, "Road Movie To Berlin"

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why I Stopped Playing D&D, and Why I Miss It

    ...I really should buy Mouse Guard.
    Avatar of George the Dragon Slayer, from the upcoming Indivisible!
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    Warriors and Wuxia, Callos_DeTerran's ToB setting

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why I Stopped Playing D&D, and Why I Miss It

    Check out my signature for listings and links to free (and non-free but awesome) D&D retroclones.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Remmirath's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why I Stopped Playing D&D, and Why I Miss It

    The ever-present chance of death in games is a good thing, I agree. The ever-present chance of death in a game with a great story and great characters is the best.

    The way I look at it, any game can focus on narrative and characters. Those are things that the DM and the players bring to the table. You just pick the rules you want to use for that narrative and those characters (and particularly for the fights). A focus on narrative, characters, and combat is the best of both worlds, and why not have it?

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    IronFist's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why I Stopped Playing D&D, and Why I Miss It

    There are some games that try to walk the line between narrativist and gamist. Anima Prime is one of my favorites. I'm currently designing something similar - a narrativist system with tactical combat using seinen action manga as a framing device.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Chainsaw Hobbit's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why I Stopped Playing D&D, and Why I Miss It

    Quote Originally Posted by Remmirath View Post
    The ever-present chance of death in games is a good thing, I agree. The ever-present chance of death in a game with a great story and great characters is the best.

    The way I look at it, any game can focus on narrative and characters. Those are things that the DM and the players bring to the table. You just pick the rules you want to use for that narrative and those characters (and particularly for the fights). A focus on narrative, characters, and combat is the best of both worlds, and why not have it?
    I don't like all of my games to be so gritty, but I see what you mean.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    CarpeGuitarrem's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why I Stopped Playing D&D, and Why I Miss It

    Quote Originally Posted by Chainsaw Hobbit View Post
    I think I'm going to give D&D another try. It will never be my go-to system, but I do miss that challenge-oriented gameplay. Knowing that one's character could, at any moment, fall into a pit of spikes and die has a certain visceral appeal - and I miss it!
    As an aside--there's a game that just came out called Torchbearer that aims to do just this. It's essentially "Mouse Guard turned dungeon-crawly and more punishing and with tighter rules". It's definitely a challenge-oriented game.

    But yeah--I definitely see what you mean here. There's a lot of aspects of D&D that haven't been completely replicated elsewhere. (Though, my current personal favorite edition of D&D is 13th Age...which isn't technically D&D, but it takes everything I love about the game and hammers out what I don't.)
    Ludicrus Gaming: on games and story | My Steam Account
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    Unless everyone's been lying to me and the next bunch of episodes are The Great Divide II, The Great Divide III, Return to the Great Divide, and Bride of the Great Divide, in which case I hate you all and I'm never touching Avatar again.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Chainsaw Hobbit's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why I Stopped Playing D&D, and Why I Miss It

    Quote Originally Posted by CarpeGuitarrem View Post
    As an aside--there's a game that just came out called Torchbearer that aims to do just this. It's essentially "Mouse Guard turned dungeon-crawly and more punishing and with tighter rules". It's definitely a challenge-oriented game.
    Link, please?

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Titan in the Playground
     
    CarpeGuitarrem's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why I Stopped Playing D&D, and Why I Miss It

    Quote Originally Posted by Chainsaw Hobbit View Post
    Link, please?
    PDF on DriveThruRPG, I can't find a sale link for physical copies yet; they just went out to Kickstarter backers, though.

    We just had a TPK (well, with two players, which is apparently "hard mode"...hehe), and it was intense down-to-the-wire stuff. The other player sacrificed his character to give me a fighting chance. I became a barrow-wight.
    Ludicrus Gaming: on games and story | My Steam Account
    Quote Originally Posted by Saph
    Unless everyone's been lying to me and the next bunch of episodes are The Great Divide II, The Great Divide III, Return to the Great Divide, and Bride of the Great Divide, in which case I hate you all and I'm never touching Avatar again.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Why I Stopped Playing D&D, and Why I Miss It

    Quote Originally Posted by Chainsaw Hobbit View Post
    But ... there is something I miss about D&D. Especially classic D&D. I think its the fact that D&D is, at its heart, a game. Fate Core isn't so much a game as a medium for group storytelling. The challenge element has almost been removed in favor of narrative, and this is fine, but the appeal is different. Fate is about creating a story. D&D is about challenge, improvisation, and creative problem solving.
    Can't the story be about meeting lethal challenges? I don't know the Fate system, but what if the story is set in a town/village at the outer edge of the fantasy civilization, and the story arc is about defending the townspeople from the Things in the Woods?

    So your characters aren't just wandering orphan murderhobos, they're defending/fighting for their town, friends and family against the Threats That Lurk. Instead of the biggest pile of gold, the campaign/story goal is cleansing the local area of monsters, bandits and renegades--the Borderlands become ordinary farmlands, and the fringe of the Wild Woods become the Border Woods.

    The pressure and fear are too much for some, and they break from civilization, betraying friends and family and join the Things in the Woods, strengthening them in numbers and power.

    Again, I don't know the Fate system, but that you could do a story-heavy fantasy RPG on that basis in a lot of different systems.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Why I Stopped Playing D&D, and Why I Miss It

    I know what you mean about wanting challenge-oriented gameplay. What you said about that articulates something I've felt for a while, but didn't have the words to express: That no matter how much self-declared "roleplayers" try to push narrative focus as a superior play-style, I'm at the table to face challenges, use my wits to overcome them, and also joke around with my friends.

    I just started playing* Shadowrun; it seems like it should be able to meet that need, while also using a much different setting and feel than I'm used to (that is, trying to survive as criminals in a dystopian urban environment, as opposed to murderhobo-ing through medieval fantasy).


    *Technically, my group is still getting a handle on how it works, and we've done two sessions of planning and legwork. Hopefully we can expedite the process and actually get to the missions soon.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Chainsaw Hobbit's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why I Stopped Playing D&D, and Why I Miss It

    Quote Originally Posted by CarpeGuitarrem View Post
    PDF on DriveThruRPG, I can't find a sale link for physical copies yet; they just went out to Kickstarter backers, though.

    We just had a TPK (well, with two players, which is apparently "hard mode"...hehe), and it was intense down-to-the-wire stuff. The other player sacrificed his character to give me a fighting chance. I became a barrow-wight.
    Hooray! I will give it a look when I have money.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Why I Stopped Playing D&D, and Why I Miss It

    It's hard to explain, but there's a particular feel to the older and old-style games. People will point to the mechanics (or lack thereof), or design philosophy (or lack thereof), or the set piece and sandbox vs. chain-of-encounters adventure planning (or lack thereof). Maybe it is the high lethality -though you can still do 'old school' without having it be a meat grinder (or character funnel). Maybe it's the lower overhead. Maybe it's the mechanics to run archetypes rather than mechanics for absolute built-to-concept. Maybe it's all nostalgia, back when we *had* free time. There is a definite lure to it.


    You can always dig out the old ones, or pick up some new ones. Rhynn's list is a most excellent clustering of classic clones, and you'll find communities for all of them. What you see in the retro-clones is very much variations on a theme. Subtle differences in how it works, depending on how close to Original Recipe, or what particular elements you want to have. Look for the one that best fits the 'feel' you're after. I've got my favorite, but for me it's a matter of hitting the sweet spot in terms of play style and modularity.
    Why yes, Warlock is my solution for everything.

    Quote Originally Posted by obryn View Post
    Active Abilities are great because you - the player - are demonstrating your Dwarvenness or Elfishness. You're not passively a dwarf, you're actively dwarfing your way through obstacles.

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