“When No Play Is Happening”
April 14, 2022
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Aaron the Pedantic asked during the debate if this phrase “when no play is happening” contradicts my interpretation of how strict timekeeping should work in AD&D. Let’s address this.
Let’s be clear about what is happening, though. It is not AD&D that is turning the rpg world upside down right now. It is the approach to running a campaign that spilled over from my campaign and then propagated across dozens of tables in a short period of time. This way of playing allows people to take their campaigns to heights they never imagined they’d reach. They integrate multiple parties, non-attending patron players, Braunsteins, independent domain developers, massive Chainmail-scale battles. Everything opens up!
The people running these astonishing campaigns, they never get hung up on trying to find some kind of exception clause in the text that would somehow give them permission to go back to running rpgs with more conventional techniques. Why would they? This stuff just works! It’s true that there have been times when we have wanted to suspend or alter or fudge our strict interpretation of the time rules, yes. Still, it never makes it into the game. When there are so many independent actors at play, explaining a deviation to them all and getting it to actually stick is all but impossible.
You have two choices at this point, and I honestly don’t care which one you prefer. One option is that Gygax intended that you play like me and everyone that didn’t is a gross nerd that never even once played D&D right in his entire life. This is a really great choice! I love it! Your other option is that I am a game design genius and I’ve improved on what Gygax wrote to the point that it has become a new and unique contribution to gaming in its own right. Given the YouTube grifters claiming this is all in the rule book, I quite like this option as well.
So, which is it? Are D&D players a bunch of illiterate dweebs? Or am I a once-in-a-generation game design genius?
Both suit me just fine!