Last night (when I write this) Donald, Eunice and I got together at Bert’s for the D&D Encounters thing. Carla and Vero were working. D&D Encounters is this quasi-organized play (at least it’s quasi- here) where you have short sessions with pregenerated characters; it’s meant to be done in gaming stores as a promotional thing for D&D, people can learn the game, et cetera. I can’t say I’m a huge fan, as I’d rather run my own homebrew game, but it’s a low-key, low-pressure excuse to meet up and have a little bit of fun. I think of most gaming as 80% social; Encounters is 95% social for me.
We blew through about three nights’ worth of short combat scenes. Bert was running, I was playing, and when I started to make assertions like “this NPC we’re dealing with now is a talking bear” no one called me on it, so I ran with that and the game became about a gang of juvenile delinquents. When the first fight started in a grotto just outside of town, smelling of a wood fire, I said out loud that surely this was the local teenage makeout spot, and one thing led to another… culminating in burning down the Hot Topic. Anachronistic, I know, but it was getting laughs and Encounters is a beer-and-pretzels kind of game (at least the way we do it).
Besides, my character’s tactical options were 1) attack, or 2) charge, so I had to amuse myself somehow. I got to confess, I am getting mad at WotC; every decision they’ve made since Dark Sun has annoyed me. I liked the old character builder, I don’t like the Essentials rules changes, I really dislike these card things they’ve got coming down the pipe… I enjoy the Dark Sun game, and D&D appears to be pretty much the only game that Vero and I can play with Bert, Carla, and Donald without our stylistic differences and expectation mismatches making everything go cockeyed, so, yeah, go go D&D 4e, but I’ve cancelled my DDI subscription and I don’t know that I’ll be buying any more books any time soon. Maybe if a Book of Themes ever comes out.
It got me thinking that I might start buying the Pathfinder adventure path books, because while D&D 3.5 is dead to me as a system — I could imagine playing in it, just barely, but I’m sure I’ll never run it again — I really enjoyed reading Dungeon magazine way back when.