So the news is out: we’re now lumbering toward another iteration of the Dungeons & Dragons game. Well, that’s just fine by me. Why, you might ask, would I espouse such enthusiasm for the third edition in twelve years of a game that apparently trundled along on two editions for close to forty years under its own steam? I’ll happily say.
New beginnings hold something of a fascination for most everyone, perhaps more so to us: the bookworms, tabletop gamers, dwellers in fantasy, and dreamers, than to any other group. For those of us who enjoy those hobbies that travel the full length and breadth of fantastic imaginings, the start of a new story is always cause for excitement and probably a little dash of nervousness as well. The new campaign with its fresh-faced young adventurers, the new arc just beginning to wend its way out from the tangle of NPC plots and PC consequences, even the addition of a new player or character to an existing RPG can be thrilling and a little frightening all at once.
I won’t even attempt to hide my excitement at having been given this place of honor at Troll in the Corner, seeing it as every bit the new beginning that any sequel, triptych, or brand new adventure module is. I’ve been playing tabletop games since the seventh grade, running them for about six months less than that, and loving it the whole time. Much of the experience and education that I’ve been lucky enough to receive on the subject has come from trial and error, reading the work of industry greats and doing my best to synthesize their insights into my games. Sometimes this has yielded spectacular results. Sometimes, not so much. Hope springs eternal, however, and it is for those moments of elated gaming when the whole table is roaring with laughter and enthusiasm that I will always continue to skim the byways of the internet and printed media for those nuggets of novelty that pay in such grand dividends for the entertainment of my gaming friends.
In that same spirit of frenetic optimism, like the elated tearing away of gift wrapping paper, I often find myself plunging wholeheartedly into new game systems and all the myriad things they can offer: new mechanics to make existing play smoother, new takes on old tropes and ideas, and of course the new worlds and campaign settings they necessarily bring along with them. I consider myself tremendously fortunate to live in a time after more than four decades of tabletop roleplaying and several incarnations of the oft-disdained but undeniably game-changing OGL. Now is a time when anybody with pen, paper, and damn fine ideas can assemble their own unique and valid take on our beloved tabletop roleplaying games and, with a few friends to playtest and some patience, produce a truly remarkable landscape in which others may find their own path to adventure, peril, riches, and most importantly fun.
Of late I’ve found myself enthusiastically scanning several new systems from their core mechanics up, excited to draw forth from them every possible drop of inspiration and refinement to apply to my own current games and to guide my focus looking forward to new campaigns. I’m hoping to make good use of the space I’ve been afforded here to help point out these awesome innovations for others to gain the same great insights, and in turn to provoke some further discourse on their finer points with an eye toward lending a helping hand to those tasked with the labor-of-love of creating them. Here’s to a long and fruitful collaboration between all our readers here with us to make the hobby to which we so lovingly devote our time and energy a better experience for all.