First Impressions

Author: Andrew /

As I sit here, I'm trying to think about what to tackle first about the game. I do love it and I think there are so many good things about it that jumping in head first and throwing out random thoughts would be fun, but also probably a little counter productive so as my first post, I'm going to present my first impressions on the game and hopefully, if you play, you may realize some things you didn't before or if you don't play, mayhaps (that's such a fun word) you'll find things that pique your interest!

D&D, or Dungeons and Dragons for the newcomers, is a game that presents itself in a way where most people, at least their first time seeing it, tend to either be VERY intrigued, or they get pushed away; that is, at least if they're seeing it by themselves. The main reason is one simple word. Content.

D&D has a TON of content and as such, can be very daunting. Most people who've played games know that with games, come rules. Rules are usually the not-fun part of the game; or, rather, reading the rules for the first time is usually the "not so fun" part of the game. This also depends on how many rules there are.

Some games are easy. Back when I was a kid, there was a show called "Bozo the Clown" (crazy, I know) and on this show, Bozo would have kids come out from the audience, play games, and win prizes. One of the favorite games on there was the simplest thing in the world. It was 7 coffee cans painted red and on each can was painted a number. The cans got further away from you and you had to throw a ping pong ball into each one, going 1-7. That was about it. Toss into can 1, get a prize. Choose to keep it and leave or shoot for more. Simple rules, fun game, easy to play.

So, that said, my first impression of D&D was "Wow... they have BOOKS of rules! How am I going to learn all this?" I'll go over the rules stuff in a later post but suffice it to say, you can learn them over time and it's much more organic an experience than anything else you've ever played.

Secondly, an impression I got was that it seemed rather exclusive (with 3rd edition) and then much more inviting (with 4th edition). With 3rd edition (and 3.5), the books looked like bejeweled, metal bound books (normal cardboard covers but the graphics looked that way). They changed that in 4th edition. Now, the covers have huge, colorful artwork on the covers that display a scene from high fantasy that can capture the imagination and where the previous books seemed to almost lock themselves to all but the most worthy, the new ones deliberately invite you into the adventure because as soon as you look at them, you're in the scene with them!

Thirdly, and lastly, the impression I got after talking briefly with people who played (this was before I was an ardent player myself) was that there were endless possibilities. It seemed a robust game and just seeing the books makes you wonder "Wow... What's all this for?" The more I talked with people, the more I learned that it wasn't so much a game in that it says "Here's the board. You move your piece around the board and when you get from Point A to point B, you win." It's more like a framework for a story.

To close, what D&D is, at the end of the day, is a framework for interactive storytelling. It give you a way to be able to actually interact with a story and be a part of it, instead of simply being an outside observer.

In the next post, I think I'll go more into how Interactive Storytelling works. Thanks for reading!



Magus Stragus said...

Ah, I remember when I started playing D&D. It all started with a small, yet somewhat epic D&D 2nd Edition Planescape campaign. You have a point there: sometimes people see the books and get scared right away. But I tell this people: the books are just guidelines. If you have a good DM, you won't need the books for more than character creation. And with D&D Insider, I believe D&D has taken a big step in inviting new players to the game.

Andrew said...

Absolutely. I've never played Planescape, nor 2nd ed (although God knows I've heard some stories! lol) I do really like the cosmologies they have for D&D and one of my fave supplements for 3.5 was Deities and Demigods. I thought that info was awesome and it allowed for putting great and powerful beings that were plainly larger than life, right into the game. Thanks for the comment and I hope to hear a lot more from you!

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