Editorial note: I wrote this blog post some time ago, but aside from a few minor editorial updates, it is still very much how I feel about the current hype around the "evolution" of D&D.
|Don't mistake all of this for...|
It may be a contrast in ideal types, but there is a distinct contrast between the "D&D-as-product-line" and "D&D-as-toolbox" approach. D&D 4th Edition is clearly in the former camp, while 0e is clearly in the latter. "Yes, but that change took place a long time ago!" someone might suggest. That's true. It's quite visible in Gary Gygax's editorial "Dungeons & Dragons - What It Is and Where It Is Going" which appeared in The Dragon #22, in February 1979:
"From a standpoint of sales, I beam broadly at the very thought of an unending string of new, improved, super, energized, versions of D&D being hyped to the loyal followers of the gaming hobby in general and role playing fantasy games in particular. As a game designer I do not agree, particularly as a gamer who began with chess...I do not believe that hobbyists and casual players should be continually barraged with new rules, new systems, and new drains on their purses. Certainly there will be changes, for the game is not perfect; but I do not believe the game is so imperfect as to require constant improvement."
"DUNGEONS & DRAGONS is like none other in that it requires the game master to create part or all of a fantasy world. Players must then become personae in this place and interact with the other populace. This is, of course a tall order for all concerned [emphasis added] — rules, DM, and players alike."What's interesting is that even at this date, Gary did not see commercial products as being anything more than add-ons to existing campaigns, noting that "[m]odules and similar material will continue to be released so as to make the DM’s task easier and his or her campaign better." At some point, modules themselves supplanted original campaign creation, dovetailing nicely with the previously-mentioned pressure to produce commercial products to maintain the company - and in so doing, making it strange for anyone to engage in their own creative visioning of the game through their own campaign. That's what is really unfortunate.
|...or your own work.|