Dungeons & Dragons, the essential RPG, turns 4

To round out our impromptu RPG week, we’d like to point out the latest news from GenCon: Dungeons & Dragons will put out its 4th edition coming next year. While not a computer game, of course, D&D has spawned quite a few of the essential computer RPGs. After more than 30 years and now four editions, what keeps D&D popular? Aside from the obvious social aspects, I’ve come up with a few ideas.

1. Supported: Current editions of D&D are supported with errata, additional books and characters, modules, and events.

2. Replayability: I have played the Village of Homlet module more times than I care to count, but each time I’ve played a different character and had a different experience. Part of this is due to design, and the other, of course, is due to fellow players.

3. Game worlds: While many DMs do create their own worlds for players to explore, I’d say the majority of games take place in the old standards, like the Forgotten Realms. The game worlds have depth in both design and story hooks that make the worlds familiar and exciting.

Combine a good business model, good design, and good writing with a whole lot of beer and chips with your friends on a Friday night, and you have a great recipe for success. In this case, it’s interesting to note that good writing isn’t just about telling a good story; it’s about hinting at stories your players can run with.

So, how do you feel about the new edition? Surly or hopeful?

Question Mark Guess that game dialog! Today’s line: “There have been multiple reports of malfeasance in the neighborhood.” “That’s my second favorite feasance!

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Published in: on August 17, 2007 at 1:44 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Very much a fast descision which could make it unpopular. In your first point you say this – there is a ton of erreta, additional rulebooks and settings. All will become outdated immediately. The previous edition will be ditched apart from 3rd party support no doubt.

    Look at the timeline of D&D, and each major release is getting closer…and closer…

    Changes to rules can be good, but too many revisions too soon, considering the sheer cost of it all, can get ridiculous.

  2. […] I did the panel on Writing for Fantasy Game Worlds, one question I asked was about how D&D compared to computer RPGs.  The panelists all had vivid memories of their campaigns in D&D.  […]


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