This started as a few divergent G+ conversations. I started thinking about it... and now this post is here.
If you are not into the rambling personal type posts I toss here every now and again, this will not be the post for you.
There is a rule in my home. Self imposed but I can assume my wife appreciates it.
The rule is "If something comes down, something goes up."
It's my RPG's in the attic rule. It means if I bring a book down I have to bring at least one up so that my stuff doesn't start to take over the living room.
A few days ago, I went up to the attic to bring down the 2nd ed Mysteria box set. I wanted to read how they dealt with the flying ships which were such a big part of the setting.
So down it came and up went the following titles:
2 Fate books. (Core, and Worlds,) The savage worlds core rules, The big dungeon crawl classics book, and Fate of the Norns.
I get mysteria down, and leaf through for what I need to look at. The box content is all high on production value, with heavy card full color ship statistics, and glossy covers. The box is still in one piece, though some of the glue is getting loose. After 23 years that's not a surprise. I wasn't so impressed by the actual content. To be fair TSR put out a huge volume of settings and material and I feel some of it suffered under it's own weight. (That might be another post for another day.)
I also found a long forgotten pamphlet type module about bi-plane flying gnomes stuffed in the box. The content of which was so goofy as to be embarrassing. The dog fighting rules looked pretty solid and might prove useful.
Let me come around to my point:
There is so much available, and I still end up coming back to D&D.
So many games that I own or have read that I will never play. All these years later on Sunday mornings I'm busting out the 5th ed players book.
To be clear I'm not lamenting my lack of time. To be honest I have the time. It's not about that.
I'm also not dumping on the other games. Fate, DCC, Savage Worlds, Numenera, all games I own and have read and think would be fun to play. I just don't. I don't want to get into D&D is "better" and that's why I go back to it. I don't believe D&D has any intrinsic trait that makes it "better" than other games.
I'm starting to wonder if it's not akin to the human brain's propensity to enjoy the music we listened to during our formative years over current music *. D&D is a mental comfort zone. It's not that I don't have time for new games, it's that I have already developed a mental comfort zone. I can make quick judgements for D&D, I have a feel for it. That's not bragging because the other side of that coin is I don't have that ability for say Apocalypse World. With other games I spend time second guessing myself, which slows everything down.
Perhaps this corollary to the music of our youth is why 4th edition did not resonate with many long time players? It was to different.
I can hear the question, "But I have written about 5th edition on this blog, thats a new game, doesn't that go counter to what I'm writing in this post? "
When I read through the PHB the first time I didn't feel there was that much to learn. This was sort of D&D the way I have been playing since 3rd ed came out. Meaning that I know how "Roll D20 add your modifier and try to beat a Difficulty" works. Anyone deep enough into the hobby to be reading this obscure little blog could probably run 5th edition D&D 15 minutes after cracking the books. There are differences of course. Things I would change even **. Still the 5th ed version of the game seems to fire my brain the same way the older versions of the game do.
Is this why OSR games are so popular among long time players? Is it just that the games resonate in a more comfortable way?
It's an interesting question.
I for one would like to think I play the RPG's I do because I picked the systems that are best for what I want to achieve at the table. What if I'm wrong? what if it's just about some nostalgic dopamine bump making the decision for me?
As time goes by and it becomes crushingly clear that my gaming days have a shelf life, how many really good games will I skip due to a middle aged mental inflexibility?
Does it matter as long as everyone is having fun doing what we do?
I would love to hear what people think about gaming as we move into our 40's (and 50's or even 60's assuming the reader was 20 in the early 70's)
* Even if at 41 years old I's starting to feel like Rage Against the Machine is now singing about me not to me...
** I'm looking at you Cantrips... and "Alertness" feat don't think I've forgotten about you you little bastard... Ohh and that +2 Attribute points at some levels thing is another one.