Saturday, November 22, 2008

What If?

Remember that old Marvel Comics series? No? That’s OK. I’m playing it today anyway here at Ye Auld Grog and Blog. What If…Dave Arneson, rather than Gary Gygax, had wrested control of D&D? What If, by some strange twist of fate, Gary had returned to the insurance business, and left the direction of D&D to Blackmoor’s creator, Dave Arneson?

Less prose and more punch

Less realism and more free wheelin’

Less medieval and more alien invasion

Less tables and more what the f**k just happened

Less concern about standardized tournament rules and more kung-fu theatre

Less D&D is fantasy, and more D&D is anything you can imagine…D&D is a concept; not a place or time in history or mythology

I love me some Gygax ‘purple prose’ as James M calls it. On the other hand, I wonder…What If?

~Sham, Quixotic Referee

6 comments:

clovis said...

can remember where I read it
(some blog?), but Arneson said it himself, that Mr. Gygax had a distinct advantage when it came to writing RPGs . . .

"Gary could type."

James Maliszewski said...

Ironically, I have an unfinished blog post on this very topic with this very title. Cue Twilight Zone music.

The post is unfinished, because the conclusion I came to is that Dave simply isn't the kind of person I could imagine taking the helm of a company and promoting a game as Gary did. Dave has many virtues and his vision for D&D, to the extent that there is one, is a useful corrective to turning Gary's vision into the One True Way. But, for good or for ill, Dave seems to have lacked the drive and single-mindedness necessary to have gotten that vision out there. To imagine an alternate universe where Dave was the go-to guy for D&D is to imagine a very different world with a very different Dave Arneson.

Mark said...

Sometimes I think that my disconnect with the majority of the Old School devotees is that my early D&D experiences were Dave-driven. For whatever reason, we really latched onto those elements over and above the Gygaxian, and I remember that one reason why I liked Mystara and the BECMI material so much was the remnants of Arneson that were preserved in it.

Geoffrey said...

While I love Gary's stuff, I think the Temple of the Frog adventure in Supplement II: BLACKMOOR is the single coolest thing in the first four OD&D supplements. I love its distinctive feel, the alien technology, and the amphibians.

Sham aka Dave said...

Cue Twilight Zone music.

I've had a handful of twilight zone moments the past few weeks as well.

Sham aka Dave said...

Clovis: That's funny. And thirty years ago, not very many men could type. As non-PC as it might sound, that's a fact.

Mark: Thats' a good point. I was a 1e guy, and thus a Gygax-nerd. But, I truly love the Arneson feel and I missed out on much of it.

Geoffrey: the Temple of the Frog adventure in Supplement II: BLACKMOOR is the single coolest thing in the first four OD&D supplements. I love its distinctive feel, the alien technology, and the amphibians.

I've never given that adventure a fair read. I love the idea and plot, so I really should give it another go.