Monday, September 13, 2010

Reinventing the Wheel

A friend of mine who loves fiddling with games told me recently that he is trying to come up with a D&D 3.5 rewrite that won't make me puke. He's selling it to me as a point buy, without classes and minus the THACO.

He's trying to hit on my "laundry list" of hated points of pretty much any D&D variant. I know he means well, and I enjoy his creativity. I'm willing to consider looking at it when he's done because I'm a good friend, but in all honesty, it will be very hard to convince me that it's not the same stuff I've come to find so distasteful.

I understand why he's doing it- he wants to try to give me the "shared experience" of the D&D culture. He wants me, of all people, to enjoy what he enjoyed so much and what he grew up on. He wants to give me the opportunity to see things through his viewfinder. I'm really touched that he likes me that much. He's not writing it just for me, but he wants to share the end result with me for a very specific purpose.

I appreciate it- it's an interesting concept. But part of me wonders, why go to all the trouble? There are a wide variety of clones and there's so many ways to play the game without fiddling with an existing ruleset. What point does having yet another adaptation of the 'predecessor' prove?

To me, it's like riffing on Night In Tunisia- it might sound good, but why mess with it in the first place? Love it or hate it, the structure, pacing, elements, mood and performance are the "gold standard" for a certain place and time for jazz. The same can and perhaps should be said for D&D- a standard that shouldn't be emulated.

Am I totally off?


  1. Point buy, minus classes, no THAC0? I wonder if he could save himself some work by simply using GURPS or Basic Role-Playing?

  2. Sounds like he is too far away from 3.5 to even be called a rewrite.

  3. Christian- why not just play... anything else- is kind of my point.

    Greg- I honestly and truly would not know the difference. I've OPENED D&D books, a couple times. But I have never actively read the rules.

    I was pretty much coerced into playing some variant back when I was a newlywed (1991-1993 time period) but I don't remember which.

    All I remember is a stupid running joke about inns being teleporting machines because every time I followed the rogue (who I didn't trust) into one, we wound up in the next town.

    I played D20 Modern (with a LOT of house rules) but it was so sufficiently disguised as something else that I only minded when it was time to level up. (UGH)

  4. What is it about 3.5 that he finds so awesome that he can't give it up?