03-08-08 - 6

Gary Gygax's death has spawned a lot of fond reminiscing about D&D all over the internet. Something that's not being said much is the sad way that Gary's work has been sullied over the years. Gary knew that the important thing was providing a basic structure for human creativity, that D&D was really a kind of communal story-telling, and the important thing was the fantasy, not the numbers.

Even before Wizards, TSR started driving D&D into the ground trying to scrape out a buck. They released a ton of box sets and new campaigns and new worlds, trying to sell more books. Gary left TSR around this time and didn't get a ton of money. Then Wizards bought them and did a good job of bringing a little energy back to the brand, but also began to release version upon version to sell more books, and added more and more complication and numbers crunching. Original D&D is a very inflexible system, you pick a class and roll your die and that's about it, you don't obsess over optimizing your character traits. The newer D&D is a Wizards points allocation system with all kinds of complexity that stat geeks can fiddle with.

Of course computers were the fatal blow for RPG's. I love computer RPG's, but they're really completed unrelated to what playing a real live RPG is like. It's sort of like playing solitaire vs. playing bridge.

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