Tuesday, June 12, 2012

D&D Editions as Rock Groups

Have to say, the more I work my way through the new ruleset for the D&D Next playtest, the more I like it. Particularly liked the statement of purpose near the beginning to the effect that this playtest's goal was to find out whether these rules support the style of play each individual group favors. A decade or so ago the idea grew up that D&D players are monolithic in their likes and style of play, which is self-evidently not the case. The new edition's embracement of the diversity of their audience shows their head and heart are in the right place: a good sign.

Meanwhile, as I've been reading through the adventure and planning out customizations to make things more interesting (I hope) and certainly less predictable for my players (all of whom have played through this adventure at some point in the past -- some of them multiple times), I've been mulling over ways to characterize the different editions of AD&D that got us here so far.
So, how's this for an analogy?

1st Edition: The Beatles

2nd Edition: The Eagles

3rd Edition: Journey or Jefferson Starship

4th Edition: Duran Duran

5th Edition: ???

There was plenty that came before 1st edition, of course: think of that as analogous to early Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers, Little Richard.*

Also, by "Edition" I don't just mean the core rulebooks but the whole of what was published under that rubric. Thus '1st edition' includes the PH and DMG but also T4. Temple of Elemental Evil, G1-3. Against the Giants, &c.; '2nd edition' includes the RAVENLOFT and al-QADIM campaign settings and adventures like DRAGON MOUNTAIN and RETURN TO THE TOMB OF HORROR; 3rd edition includes 3.5, and so forth.

Ideally, from my point of view, 5th Edition would turn out to be a Coldplay rather than a Lady Gaga or Eminem.

--John R.

*essentially, all the music Don McLean celebrated in "American Pie" [1971]

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