Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Respectability? No thanks

When I look back at my early gaming life and ponder what it was that made D&D so cool in '81, I realize it was because the game was subversive. It was teaching kids reading, writing, mathematics and it was doing it without any adult supervision. That is ultimately what caused certain religious and political authorities to condemn D&D. The kids were learning, but not necessarily the things their authority figures wanted them to.

So now the generation that grew up on D&D is reaching middle age. We have kids of our own and we hope to pass on the hobby to them. Some of us want D&D and other RPGs to take on an air of respectability. Well, I say nuts to that. I think the hobby should remain the forbidden fruit, something not talked about in polite company. Like your dad's collection of vintage Playboy magazines, your old D&D books should be something the kids stumble upon while poking their noses in places they don't belong. I think this is the way tabletop RPGs will survive and endure. This hobby can't hold a candle to video games in the minds of kids today unless it has some element of danger. Make our games subversive again.



Derobane-bane said...

I had a buddy in high school that was an extreme introvert with some serious learning disabilities. Of course in those days, you didn't have codes for every problem kids had in terms of impeding education. Teachers just ignored him and focused on the good kids with potential.
Long story short- we introduced the guy to D&D. He was so enthralled with the game that he bought every source book and novel that he could get his hands on. After 4 years of playing, his grades improved enough that he went on to college. He got into role-playing so much that he was able to exit his shell and break into other social orders in the school. I think he even went on a date...once.
Anyway, if you told his parents that playing D&D was a contributing factor to his 180 change in academics and socializing, they would have given you an earful. They attributed change to his maturing years in high school. We in the forbidden arts know differently.

Obiri said...

Nothing teaches math better then trying to figure out what die to roll get #appearing: 2-12 or damage 1-16. There was none of that this 3d6+2 back then. You had to figure it out yourself.

Rognar said...

Oh, 1-16, 3d6-2, nice one. I remember we had 4-7 a lot.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

1-16 could also have been d6 (1-3 add 0, 4-6 add 8) and a d8.

depends if you were looking for a straight line or bell curve result.

Rognar said...

True. I usually assume a gaussian distribution when dealing with one of the "no. appearing" entries. It just feels right. But there are certainly some occasions when a linear distribution is appropriate.