Inside the world of longsword fighting http://t.co/UalA448kBa pic.twitter.com/GPzvj50Oq1
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 16, 2014
Not actually connected, but possibly of interest, the NYTimes on “Dungeons, Dragons, & Documentaries“:
For a certain sort of fan, the crowdfunding pitch was impossible to resist. Here was a chance, it announced, to support a documentary about the immortal saga of the legendary game that all but revolutionized modern life. No pressure.
Three filmmakers promised nothing less than the origin story of the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, “a cautionary tale of an empire built by friends and lost through betrayal, enmity, poor management, hubris and litigation,” they wrote on their Kickstarter page in 2012. They planned to chronicle the bitter battle waged by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, the game’s creators, over credit and royalties.
In other words, they wrote: “Imagine ‘The Social Network’ ” — the box office hit about the tortuous story of Facebook’s founding — “but no one ends up rich.”
If the filmmakers saw a cautionary tale in the story of their shared passion, they failed to heed its lessons. More than $250,000 in Kickstarter pledges and two years later, there is no documentary, only broken friendships and a lawsuit.
The director of “Dungeons & Dragons: A Documentary” has sued his former partners for embarking on another documentary on the same subject. Gaming conventions like GenCon (“The Best Four Days in Gaming”) and GaryCon (“a living memorial to E. Gary Gygax”) are abuzz with rumors of backstabbing and creative theft. Gathering around their tabletop games and in online forums, Dungeons & Dragons fans are distraught…
Mandatory disclaimer: While the Spousal Unit was an early adopter and longterm DM, the one time I tried playing (in 1979, IIRC) ended with me losing my temper, so I’m probably Getting It Rong. (And I’m still waffling on adding an “Insufficiently Popular Culture” category.)
Apart from that, what’s on the agenda for the evening?
Gentlemen and gentlewomen defend their honor with rapiers: http://preview.tinyurl.com/omdywdj
When I fenced, I was a saber guy. Love the sport, but it’s too hard to find bout partners.
Would you watch a Ken Burns series on D&D?
George Will is probably too old, but David Brooks would be about right.
Also, too, are those bruises on her arms and does long swording make you look like you play rugby?
I used to work for TSR (creators of Dungeons and Dragons) back in the late 80’s.
And met and spoke with Gary Gygax several times.
Damn near 30 years ago. Wow. Time does fly by.
My brother & I played Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 1st edition through most of the early 80’s & pretty much stopped when I went to college in ’86. We tried numerous MMORPGs, but none of those captured the joy of AD&D and rolling dice. We decided to give the old pen-n-paper a try again a couple of years ago. We have to do it on Skype. Much of the material is available via PDFs. We’ve been having a blast. We don’t cheat as much as we did as kids. Some nights we’ll spend a couple of hours hashing out our fix for one of the many ambiguously worded rules.
My wife hates my video game playing (okay, I am probably getting too old), but she likes me doing the AD&D even if she won’t play.
My wife met a guy at the dog park wearing a shirt about D&D and mentioned I did it. Now I’m playing Pathfinder which is the spiritual successor to AD&D 3.5.
The new version of AD&D is supposed to be pretty decent, but 1st edition & now Pathfinder is plenty for me…
Iowa Old Lady
Kansas Supreme Court orders Taylor’s name removed from ballot:
Heh, same for me. The one and only time (back in the late 70s? Early 80s?), I got into a FUCK YOU, NO FUCK YOU! screaming match with the BF who talked me into playing. Don’t remember what triggered it but we were screaming in each other’s faces with our neck tendons just bursting out of our skin. Needless to say, he wasn’t my BF much longer and I was never tempted to play D&D again.
I like the look of the long sword fighting–more realistic than fencing. Then again, who gets in swordfights nowadays?
I played 1st edition AD&D from about age 9 to 16 or so; after that, it was hard to find other players, so I stopped. I had all my books and modules stored at my dad’s house, but I’m pretty sure he threw them out. Darn.
If I ever played AD&D again, it would 1st edition or maybe 2nd.
@Iowa Old Lady: That’s the result we wanted, right?
Edit: I see from efgoldman’s comment that this was indeed the result we wanted.
Another Holocene Human
Re: D&D and their copyrighting, trademarking, and suing everyone in sight: thieves are always looking over their shoulders
they ripped most of the IP from The Hobbit, which was most certainly NOT in public domain in the 60s and 70s
the trauma, drama, dysfunction in table top gaming continues to this day
I think “Insufficiently popular culture” is implied by “Gamer Dork.” Don’t want to get JC’s ire up about too many damn tags again.
We have a bunch of cold steel bokken, wakazashi, broadswords, and a gladius. They belong to my kids but I have found that doing a simple kata with the bokken is a fun workout for me.
My kids used to play D&D and I would host these weekend long gatherings where a bunch of kids would spend the weekend mostly sitting around the table playing while I made food for them. They were really fun and polite and have grown up to be great young men.
Just took two elderly labradors for a walk. They were trying to outdo each other and succeeded in exhausting themselves. They collapsed on the floor within about 30 seconds of coming home. Major dog snoring going on right now.
That was always an important part of the game. I had one game master who knew that if he hadn’t gotten to prepare anything for an evening’s session, he could instigate a rules rehash, and it would take up most of the time.
After many years of not having a game, I’ve been playing for about a year now with some younger coworkers, and it’s been great fun.
@WaterGirl: one complicating factor is that Kolbach says the Dems have to have a convention and select a new candidate. It isn’t known if he is going to push that theory though
“An elegant weapon from a more civilized age.”
Coming back to tabletop RPG’s after a 20+ year hiatus was a definite eye-opener. Not only has there been a recent explosion of RPG’s to suit just about every style there could possibly be, most RPG’s nowadays have junked the ‘roll everything twice’ that slowed down so much of the dungeon crawl in place of ‘tell a communal story’ and explicit instructions in the core books that if you need to make a rule on the fly, go with it…..and if you don’t like a rule, take it out. Hell, in Numenera, the GM never rolls dice!
Yeah, it’s a fabulous time to be a gamer.
@srv: “Also, too, are those bruises on her arms and does long swording make you look like you play rugby?”
Not surprising if she took a few hits. Blunt steel is still steel, even through the padding.
Starting playing D&D in 1974 and did so until the mid-80s. We had a group of 15 or so that would float in and out of games, making up new rules and situations* as we went along. By the end it wasn’t D&D but our own RPG. All great fun.
* TSR, for some reason, didn’t have rules for Maxim machine guns on flying carpets
Hey, anyone here a regular reader of the “Sadly, No” blog? That site was one of my daily haunts back in the day, but I stopped going there a while back. I check in every now and then and it seems they are down to one contributor. They seemed to have lost their relevance.
Got me thinking to other blogs I frequented back in the day. I know “The Daily Howler” has been discussed here in the recent past. But that used to be a daily stop for me – haven’t been back in months, if not longer.
“Crooks & Liars” was another regular stop, but I have not been there in a long time. Not only that, I rarely if ever see links to any of these sites, especially C& L.
Of course stopped going to FDL after TBogg left (and D. Dayen).
Another Holocene Human
@Anoniminous: definitely the way to go … my crowd in the early 90s did this but did it with Risk … out of the box Risk was a lot less fun
Another Holocene Human
@El Tiburon: There was another blog a lot like Sadly, No!, can’t remember the name, maybe World O’ Crap? They used to do the same thing, profile and nutpick Townhall contributors (some of them have hit the bigtime, others like Schlussel are still second stringers–it’s like following daytime tv stars, mmm, popcorn) but they pretty much quit to focus on their movie (good movie and baaaaad movie) writing-about projects. I miss the commenters. I wonder if Aunty Christ is still kicking.
@El Tiburon: I LOVED Sadly, No. That’s probably how I found my way here in the first place. Dunno what happened to their core crew. (Never did like the work of HTML Mencken, though.) The person who’s been carrying the baton from them… It just wasn’t the same. Every once in a while I remember to check in and there’s just a long and not especially funny post with comments going back many days.
You mean you didn’t keep your original first edition rule books? I still have mine.
@Another Holocene Human: World O’Crap was fantastic in its day. Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive.
@Another Holocene Human: @El Tiburon: Also, while Amanda Marcotte is righteous and insightful, Jesse Taylor was those and also funny when Pandagon was still his place. Wish he’d make a comeback.
Cheryl from Maryland
@Lawrence: props to you.
Bob In Portland
Anyone here care to comment about the contents of the Russian engineers’ report or are the good citizens of Balloon Juice just sending it down the memory hole without looking at it?
@jharp: I did freelance work for TSR back in the late 1980s, and my one run-in with Lorraine Williams has led me to believe every horrible thing that has ever been said about her and the management of the company.
@efgoldman: That is the voter suppressing ALEC guy, right? If it is, he will do anything, I truly believe that.
@El Tiburon: I feel like those kinds of blogs will make a comeback if a Republican is ever president again. So not for a while.
@Bob In Portland: what’s that? Oh nevermind I don’t care.
Sadly, No! is also the site that led me here in the first place, and HTML Mencken was my favorite S,N! frontpager.
Politico headline of the day: “David Gregory hits media ‘laziness’“.
@SatanicPanic: Well, we are in a thread discussing fantasy war-games. practically on topic at least, although I can’t fault your reaction.
Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.)
Anybody know whether Scotland is going to be its own country yet?
@Another Holocene Human:
They really didn’t. The core IP for D&D is the game mechanics, not the setting; that’s why the company was named Tactical Studies Rules. They were able to apply the same basic mechanics to other games, including Boot Hill, a western-themed RPG. Most of the very broad fantasy setting (e.g. elves, dwarves, mages, etc.) is sufficiently generic that it’s not copyrightable anyway.
The Other Chuck
@Keith P: I’m seeing day-old comments on that story kept in moderation … except for some white supremacist rantings that got past moderation. And got six upvotes.
Politico is basically just FreeRepublic now, right?
Except for wizards, this stuff comes from Tolkien. Elves and Dwarves as modern culture knows them did not exist pre-Tolkien. Almost all of modern fantasy is one giant ripoff of D&D, which is a ripoff of Tolkien, with some give and take of D&D and Warhammer ripping each other off.
@efgoldman: well, considering the list of nominees had to be finalized today because ballots have to be printed tomorrow and shipped out by Saturday for voters overseas… the odds of a Democratic nominee on the ballot are, slim.
I’m honestly amazed by the blatant partisan maneuvering by the Secretary of State. That strikes me as the kind of thing that always comes back to bite the person and party in the ass. And it’s not like this cycle was already shaping up as less than good for Republicans in Kansas.
@Anne Laurie: I remember him as dreary, long-winded, and full of himself in the classic college-anarchist fashion. But YMMV.
@scav: in that case I am hoping that Bob’s comment relates to the Ukraine being invaded by an army of orcs led by dragon riding evil elves
@Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):
I just checked on BBC, and they don’t have any results yet. They are reporting 87% turnout, so they at least know how many votes they have to count.
ETA: The last district to report is expected to have results around 6:00 AM British time. If the election is as close as recent polls have put it, that’s when the answer will be clear.
@Another Holocene Human:
Never understood the passion for playing solely and only by The Rules. Where’s the fun in that? Even stolid Monopoly can become a LOT more enjoyable if you write your own Chance, e.g. “Communist Revolution! Everybody is put Up Against the Wall and shot!,” and Opportunity, e.g., “Political Corruption! Pay $1,000 and get title to Baltic and Mediterranean” cards.
@Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): Origuy linked to the Guardian‘s live blog, which I’m finding useful.
Except for wizards, this stuff comes from Tolkien.
@Frankensteinbeck: The easy-going yet curmudgeonly spirit of Jack Vance says, “And what am I, chopped pelgrane liver?”
Baby. Panda. Triplets.
That is all.
I played D&D with friends in grad school, and stopped after graduating in ’83. I wound up back in grad school a few years later, but joined the fencing club. It’s hard for a tabletop game to compete with the joys of chasing someone up and down the strip with a blade in your hand!
Hmmm, I guess I’m the only one who thought about this story when I read this and saw the pic.
Black Man Killed By Police In Utah Was Reportedly Carrying A Toy Sword
This is what happens when you get a group of Chaotic Neutrals together for a business venture…
@Anoniminous: awesome. Those might make me actually want to play Monopoly.
@Anoniminous: My friend Steve and I liked to play the game of Life (which Art Linkletter heartily endorsed), only to make it reflect the real world better, stealing was legal if you weren’t caught in the act. We also changed one of the squares to ‘YOU DIE!” and if you landed on it, well, you were out of the game.
Let’s just say that others didn’t like to play the game with us.
@lamh36: I had a flicker of Elon when reading, but I’ll admit to indulgence in SCA perhaps occupying overmuch of my brain. We certainly walked into a few eating establishments in full garb, following a war even. At best I can plead a secord-order thought. They released what those other cameras recorded yet?
@scav: I don’t think so? At least I haven’t seen anything new
The only lasting rip-off of Tolkien D&D did was the Elves were human sized and not the little buggers, who fixed shoes at night and dwarves are hardy and resistant to magic.
The stuff about Rangers having to be good was dropped in later editions.
Wizards, in the LOTR, were born with their power. They did not need years of study, a spell book or components pouch to cast spells.
I think the setting owes more to Conan, the originator of sword & sorcery fantasy, than LOTR.
Tried to edit, but FYWP says I do not have permission.
Anyway disregard all but last sentence, Read what Frankensteinbeck wrote backwards somehow.
Not Adding Much to the Community
@Anne Laurie: Yep; Gavin and HTML Mencken (nee “Retardo Montalbon”) were great. I still go back from time to time and read Retardo’s epic dismantling of Jeff Godlstein from, what, 2004? Good times, almost.
@Not Adding Much to the Community: BradR(eed), too. I guess every blog has its season…
D&D was also highly dependent on the fantasy of Jack Vance. There was plenty of Swords and Sorcery material out there by the time Tolkein wrote his work.
D&D 5e really took things back to basics. Much more focus on role playing rather than roll playing.
D&D is a mishmash of many sources. Only a few bits are actually from Tolkien (mainly elves, dwarves and orcs). The Tolkien bits stand out because a lot more people have read Tolkien than have read, e.g., Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson (“lawful” and “chaotic” as primal forces, paladins, several monsters) or The Dying Earth by Jack Vance (how magic works, some of the specific spells and items, and Gary Gygax’s distinctive prose style).
The observation that most fantasy literature from the 1980s onward is one giant pastiche of D&D is totally accurate.
@El Tiburon: Brad was the soul of Sadly, No! It limped along for a while after he left (HTML and Aristophanes were pretty damn good IMO), but was never the same. I remember the first few times I read Brad posts and my wife would holler from the other room “WTF are you laughing at?”
@AWJ: They took a lot from Michael Moorcock as well. I still remember reading the Elric saga as a kid, and plan to revisit it one of these days. He seems tragically undervalued in the genre.
Lost the box of books at some point between ’98 & ’04. I had the four that are now out in special editions plus a ton of modules, dice, miniatures & my old papers.
@kmeyerthelurker: The stuff savaging that pissant Bob “Confederate Yankee” Owens was marvelous.