Tuesday, December 20, 2022

D&D in The Guardian

 So, a few days ago the British newspaper THE GUARDIAN ran a piece on playing D&D from the point of view of a first time Dungon Master.


It's nice to see mainstream media stories on D&D that have moved on beyond the 'here's this weird scary thing' to 'maybe it's time you shd give this hobby a try'.

One point I particularly noted was the author's observation about the slow pace of the game, much more than had been the case when he'd played the game, not run it --i.e., it'd gone faster when he'd been a player, much slower than as a DM. 

D&D has always been notorious in that the game slows down when combat begins, so that a single combat can take up an entire gaming session. But as a longtime player and DM* I have to say that the game has slowed overall, beginning with the advent of 3e. From 3e onward so many factors come into play in combat that it simply takes longer to figure out what happens. In recent years this hesitation to make decisions, to commit to a course of action, seems to have spread to all decision-making within the game. Thus a simple decision --say, which of several cave entrances the PCs should explore first-- can take a surprising amount of time. 

The reason is probably that PCs are precious. In the early days of D&D it was relatively quick and easy to roll up a PC;  generating a replacement character in mid-session** was not at all unusual.*** Now there are  so many factors involved that this is no longer the case.

And I have to say games where the PCs overthink everything tend at some point to generate their own solution in the form of the least patient person adopting a kick-in-the-door policy. 

--John R.

--current reading: just finished THE FIRST EMANCIPATOR 

*I started in early 1980, though it took me until around late 1982 to find a stable group (through the expedient of starting one myself).

**I've even known of cases when a character was killed, a replacement rolled up and join the PC group, only to be killed in turn and replaced in turn, all in the same session, though this was counted a display of serious bad luck.

***In some games, losing your magic items/special equipment was a more serious blow than the death of the character.

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