Saturday, January 14, 2012
No, not the the Iron maiden song, although that's pretty cool too. I'm talking about actual fear of the dark. There has been quite a bit of discussion lately around Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition and what people want to see left in, taken out, or added back from previous editions, so I figured that I would weigh in with one small removal, that would please me. Glow sticks, or sun rods as they are known in the game. These things seems to have become ubiquitous items for dungeon explorers. No one takes a torch or a lantern anywhere anymore. Dark tunnel? Just break out a sun rod and we're off to the rave...um I mean dungeon. While these are no doubt handy items for the players, they lessen the game master's ability to use darkness to his or her advantage. Gone are the days when a gust of wind could blow out the party's torches just as a swarm of giant spiders descended upon them. Gone are the days of dropping the players into a pit filled with icy water, extinguishing their torches and lanterns, right before one of their legs is brushed by a slimy tentacle... Now I'm not advocating that D&D should be some sore of psychodrama, where the game master exploits the real world fears of their players, but fear of the darkness is a primal fear that can go a long way in creating atmosphere in a game, especially considering that a large portion of D&D adventures take place in a lightless, or at best dimly lit underworld.
Monday, January 9, 2012
Soooooo, WotC has announced yet another version of what they call Dungeons & Dragons. In truth, I'm not sure how I feel about that. D&D long ago ceased to be relevant to me from a regular gaming perspective. I switched to the Hero System in 1988, and have moved on to other games since. But still Dungeons & Dragons, in name at least, holds a special place in my heart, conjuring up magical memories of games long past. I want to see D&D survive and flourish, whether I play it or not. It's a part of my history, and I can't easily turn my back on that and wish for it to fail as many of my contemporaries do. So, here's hoping that what they do is good for the hobby in general and good or Dungeons and Dragons in particular.