Never Evolving Gamers

It seems like every few years now there is a new version of Dungeons & Dragons being released; while there were twelve years between AD&D and AD&D 2nd Edition, and then another eleven until 3rd Edition was released. A mere 3 years later 3.5 hit the shelves only to be suseeded by 4.0 before the body was even cold, just under five years later. And now, we already have rumors and musing of 5th Edition in serious production. Now this may sound like a familiar arguement against the advancement of the game, but fair thee well avid gamers – My qualms lay with those who are stuck 33 years in the past; those who refuse to move on from AD&D and still sacrifice characters to the alter of THACO. The "purists" as you may reluctantly call them, or as they call themselves.

You may well know that I have a major issue with overpublication within tabletop gaming – taking the imagination and R&D from the players and causing them to rely soly on the publicists for their information – but why must people completely ignore that there have been advancements within the system? Now me: I'm a Pathfinder gamer. I enjoy the 3X system and feel that it has the best balance of the systems. I do realize that there are issues with the given system at certain points, but what can I say? I like it. I also like the way that 4.0 handles skills and ability modifiers, and the general idea of their power system (Immediate, Encounter and Daily) all have an intreaguing quality to them. However, I intensly dislike the way that the new system simplifies the player's responabilities while overcomplicating the DM roll, all while destroying the flexability and control of character advancement. And the harsh reality and certain death to the players of the Advanced editions... As a DM its something that always peaks your interest. So what have I done? I started carving my own puzzle pieces.

Basically, I take all of the different puzzles and empty the boxes onto the ground. Then I make the edges with Pathfinder and start filling in the middle areas with bits of 4E, 3.5 and dabbles of 2nd Edition. Then I pick up the box art for the AD&D painting and start arranging everything so that when you start to squint, you can almost see the same picture. If any of the pieces don't really fit where I want them to, then I'll take my knife out and shave the edges until I can mash it into place. Have I taken this metaphor far enough?

What I'm trying to say is... If I like something from another edition, or even another game entirely, then take it. The health and armor system from Warhammer 40K RPG has made me attempt to entice my players into using the alternative Pathfinder Vitality system. Burning Wheel has amazing social rules that I am just waiting to put into play. Combat without fighting: Skills Challenges are a great idea and have been tooled to near perfection by fellow DM's like Sly Flourish and Phil Menard. There is such a vast plethora of information out there, why would you hold yourself to the creative limitations of some developer over 30 years ago? I love my Atari, but that doesn't mean that I'm going to give up playing my Xbox 360 just because I'm trying to stick to my roots. It just means that I'll download Asteroid in HD and be able to play without blowing on a cartridge and performing a ritualistic dance around my livingroom. Tabletop games are about creativity, and what's more creative than stealing other peoples ideas and turning them into your own?


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