101 Days of D&D: okay, would you believe 43 Days of D&D?

This thread at the Forge has really gotten me thinking about the future of my D&D campaign and this 101 Days of D&D project.

First, read the thread. If you’re at all interested in role playing games, it’s worth reading through the thread. If you’re interested in narrativist role playing (and I mean that in the least confrontational way possible), it’s just about essential.

I’ve already covered some of this in previous posts, but it bears repeating, I think. When I re-started my interest in RPGs about 15 months ago, I had never heard of The Forge or the GNS model (or any role playing “theories” at all) or any sort of indie RPGs. I completely missed the start of all that when I was away from roleplaying. So, when I got back into roleplaying last year, I started exploring those sorts of games just to check that stuff out. [There was also a local guy (hey Roy! Miss you!) who was really into those games that helped me a lot. He moved away last year and our local gaming community is worse off for it. But, back to me.] I ended up loving several of those games (esp. Burning Wheel) and sorta snubbed D&D/d20/etc. for a while. I have a tendency towards snobbery sometimes. Those of you who know me in real life will have a chuckle at that. The rest of you will just have to trust me.

I didn’t get to play as many of the indie games as I bought and read, but I really enjoyed that style of play. Then our group sorta fell apart over this past summer, and I wanted a palate cleanser of sorts to clear the bad taste of the final few sessions. So, being in a nostalgic sort of mood, I turned to D&D, the current edition, though, not the stuff I played “back in the day.” I figured I’d give it a shot, especially since I was very interested in the Eberron campaign setting.

I started this blog series with the idea that it would make me work on my D&D game more often and would motivate me to learn the rules better and spend more time thinking D&D. What I’ve spent a lot of time doing is trying to figure out how to turn D&D into something else. It’s been really interesting, but has shown me that it’s not easy and and — more importantly — not worth it. D&D should be D&D and _____ should be _____. There are already systems out there that do what I want out of RPGs (more or less). There’s no point in trying to make D&D do that.

So, fast forward a half-dozen sessions of D&D 3.5 and 42 days worth of this 101 Days of D&D project to right now. I’ve covered a number of topics in this series that have helped me work through some issues I’ve been having with my roleplaying. Heck, just reading through the posts again, it’s so obvious that, despite my constant wish to “let D&D be D&D” I’m just not that into the D&D style of play. One of the players in my group (the one who’s been drifting D&D toward something else with me) recently said the reason I started up the D&D thing was because of nostalgia, and I think he’s right. But, it’s been really useful besides that. It’s shown me what I really want from my roleplaying, and, unfortunately — in some respects — that’s not the sort of play that D&D provides.

First, let me say that D&D 3.5 is REALLY good at what it does. There are a lot of reasons it’s as successful as it is. It’s the best at being D&D that D&D has ever been.

Second, the group I’ve been playing with has been really great. Except for Tim. He’s the one who’s been encouraging me to drift D&D towards something more narrativist and causing me all this RPG angst. :) But the group’s been great, and I hope to continue gaming with them in some form or another for a good long while.

Third, as if it weren’t completely obvious by now, I’m going to end the 101 Days of D&D project at 43 days. I don’t foresee a breakthrough of any sort that would “turn me around” and I’d like to explore some other rpg approaches now instead of in a couple of months. More on this below…

Fourth, I’m NOT sure about what to do about my Eberron D&D game. It’s been going in fits and spurts (some great sessions some “meh” sessions) for the last few months (it predates this project by a bit), and I’d like to bring it to some sort of conclusion instead of just ending it abruptly. I plan to talk to my players about it before tomorrow’s session. I don’t want to spend the next several months of sessions running D&D and not enjoying it just for the sake of the campaign, but I would like to get some resolution for as many of the characters — and players! — as I can. I guess I’ll have a follow-up post this weekend about that.

Lastly (for now), I’m not going to stop blogging about role playing. Heck, doing this project in public on the blog has gotten my interest in blogging back some. I hope to post more here about what I’m doing as far as roleplaying is concerned, and I’m also going to be blogging more in general, I hope. I also hope to get engaged in some of the great roleplaying discussions going on right now. The Forge thread cited at the very beginning of this post is a great example (though I think that one’s about played out). So, I’m not leaving, even though I am ending this project early.

See you around the internets!

8 thoughts on “101 Days of D&D: okay, would you believe 43 Days of D&D?”

  1. Well, good luck in your new path. I think you made the right choice! No sense in holding back when you know this (D&D) is not where you want to be. It’s so not worth it.

    Keep us updated on your new projects!

  2. I’m glad the post meant something to ya.

    I hope you find what you are looking for.

    Good luck and if you need some private brainstorming, e-mail me.

  3. This was a tough goal, and I’ve been curious from the start whether or not you’d make it. Not in a “your will is weak!” kind of way, but more in a “damn, that’s a packed schedule” kind of way. ;)

    It sounds like you’re cashing it in for the right reasons, so rock on. I look forward to seeing what you come up with next. :)

  4. I recently came to the same (reluctant) realization about D&D. I love the setting and imagery, but the wargame-like rules are too much. Have you chosen a new game to replace D&D? What other games are you playing or evaluating?

  5. Christopher:

    I’m probably going back to Burning Wheel for my next game. Another player in my group is going to run a Riddle of Steel one-shot this week and, if that goes well, he’s going to run a TROS campaign to alternate with whatever I decide to run. I have a new post coming hopefully today.

  6. Interesting.. Burning Wheel is a pretty “crunchy” game, isn’t it? I assumed you were turned off by D&D’s “crunchiness”, but I guess it must have been something else..? In your new post, I would be curious to read more about what you like about BW vs D&D.

    thanks,
    chris

  7. BW *IS* pretty crunchy, but it’s not D&D’s crunch that turned me off, more it’s the focus of the crunch. BW’s crunch (esp. the rewards system) better supports the way we’d like to approach roleplaying: more complex social interaction and less “killing things and taking their stuff” (as far as the rewards system).

    Also, I don’t like: levels, hit points, armor class, the D&D magic system. Some fairly important stuff, right? ;) More in the post…

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