Thursday, January 26, 2012
Dungeonspiration: Type IV
I owe a lot to Fourth Edition. It had been years since I had played a role playing game when I heard that a new version of D&D was coming out. All of the things that had kept me away from the table - moving around from town to town like a refugee, dating, marriage, college, birthin' a baby, being laid off after 9/11 - all of those things had settled to the point of manageability. I had some time for me again, and here was a fresh new D&D, peeking it's head around the corner.
How could I resist?
Fourth edition finally gave me the impetus to sit down and really read, understand, and implement the entirety of a gaming system. Before, it was enough to get a gist of a game and then fly be the seat of my pants. Type IV begged - demanded - to be understood before played - it being so different and all.
I met a lot of people, played a lot of games, and have friends I never would have because of Fourth Edition. Back in 2007, it was a great rallying point for those of us whom life had whisked away from gaming and were coming back to the fold.
I got to play with minis. I had always wanted to incorporate minis in my games, but beyond using them as a marker for marching order, I'd never gotten to use them. Again, 4th edition demanded their use, and I gladly tossed wads of money to keep myself swimming in little plastic toys.
Fourth Edition was the first role playing game my son ever played, and he loved it. It introduced him to doing math on the fly, use of spatial thinking and strategy, and cooperating with a group of people to complete a complicated task. The game also helped us bond together as father and son in the same way that others bond together with baseball or football or some-such thing.
In the end, however, Fourth Edition D&D never gave me the warm fuzzies that Basic or Advanced Dungeons and Dragons had given me in my youth. At first I thought it was just me, but after a lot of trying and tinkering, it became clear that Type IV wasn't designed to provide what I was looking for. It took a journey into the OSR for me to remember - and rediscover - what I had been looking for all along.
My long, loud break-up with Fourth Edition is well documented on this blog, including embarrassing rants and name-calling, so I don't feel the need to repeat any of it. Let's just say I fell out of love and hired a mean and vindictive lawyer.
This column is about inspiration - and inspiring other. Fourth Edition Dungeons and Dragons inspired me to get back into role-play. It inspired me to get out and meet new people. It has even helped to inspire my son and I to form a closer bond. It even brought me back to the very roots of my gaming career. In those regards, Fourth Edition was far from a failure - but a raging success.
The innocence I once came to Fourth Edition with has been restored by it's death. So yes, I'll gladly toss that lily into the grave.
Fifth Edition is now peeking its head over the horizon. I wonder - what will it inspire?