On the Repeat of History
If you'll bear with me here, I'm going to ramble a bit. Most of this is personal opinion and conjecture with, oh, absolutely nothing to back it up!
So the Old School Renaissance happened. People were like "Yay! Basic and Original style play!" and they all got together and anything went and we all played around with megadungeons and hexcrawls and FLAILSNAILS online.
And things were good.
But lately, I've noticed that a lot more Dungeon Masters are running closed campaigns, with rules about what you can bring, what can show up. Campaigns started as not FLAILSNAILS. Groups have split off, with regulars that play week after week.
Dungeon masters are concerned about the integrity of their game (YOU CAN NOT HAVE A MEANINGFUL CAMPAIGN IF STRICT TIME RECORDS ARE NOT KEPT. . .). Systems in use are becoming more baroque and complicated.
You see, this is what I think AD&D second edition got right. And I think it's where we are headed.
You see, what rules and races and systems work for the HMS Apollyon don't work for +Numenhalla. The ones that work for Numenhalla don't work for Pahvelorn. The ones for Pahvelorn don't work for Cobalt Reach.
You see? The clones, they are all generic fantasy so played straight they all produce generic fantasy. What we really need are clones like Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea which gives us specific rules for a specific setting (Human variations only, sorcery leads to darkness and evil. . .). James Raggi must have ran into the same issue when he was struggling to add halflings, elves and dwarves to Lamentations of the Flame Princess ruleset that he uses to stage play on historical earth!
We don't need fewer clones, we need more! We need to be sick and tired of the conventional traditional-style clone. We need to be eager to write clones more freely as we wish. We need to produce works that become new genre in themselves.
The parallel that runs to second edition?
I see it. But this time, we'll be smarter about it. No fifteen pages of background information before a quest. No fake fiction. No assuming that everyone might be running some other optional rule-set. Just release a cohesive setting, with the world design in the class selection, equipment selection, mechanics, spells, and monster lists.
Every single one of us knows exactly how the hell to play Dungeons & Dragons. Let's share something more interesting than another generic set of rules with some houserules.
You might as well consider this an announcement of Perdition, coming soon.
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